Report from XXVI meeting of GIRI, Florence, September 201229 September 2012
Alexander Tournier and Rachel Roberts represented HRI at the 26th meeting of the Groupe International de Recherche sur i’Infinitesimal (International Research Group of Very Low Dose and High Dilution Effects). At this event, forming part of the bigger European Congress for Integrative Medicine, they were able to hear directly from many of the world’s leading researchers presenting updates on their latest findings.
Although this meeting focused primarily on basic research, there were also presentations on clinical and veterinary research. Robert Mathie presented exciting new findings from the first phase of his comprehensive systematic review of randomised controlled trials in homeopathy. This much needed work, due to be published in the near future, will bring the field up to date, giving fuller and more recent data on the clinical research literature compared with the last comprehensive review published in 2005.
A number of research groups are now using state of the art genetic techniques to investigate the effects of homeopathic remedies – a telling sign that homeopathy research is thriving. These techniques provided us with a front row view of the intimate changes occurring at the level of the genome upon exposure to homeopathic remedies. Dr Dinelli presented exciting results examining the changes of gene expression in wheat upon exposure to homeopathic preparations. Dr Marzotto investigated the changes in gene expression of stressed cells and showed that Gelsemium 30CH reduced the activity of 45 genes, while increasing that of 7 others.
Dr Khuda-Bukhsh also used genetic techniques, this time to investigate the effect of homeopathy in preventing virus infections in E-Coli. Dr Pierre Dorfman presented results from treating Metabolic Syndrome with a combination remedy, using gene expression profiling to show that the combination remedy had regulating effects on various genes. Finally, Dr Mazzoli presented her positive results using a homeopathic preparation to treat genital HPV viral infections (linked to development of cervical cancer), using genetic techniques to detect the presence of the different cancer-causing viruses.
Dr Elia presented the wide array of physical techniques he has brought to bear on the problem of homeopathy, from conductometry to fluorescence microscopy. Dr Grimaldi presented his new experiments on the Electromagnetic properties of water.
Multiple teams worldwide are working on the key issue of finding the most reproducible methods for basic research experiments investigating homeopathic dilutions. Prof Endler presented the results of a replication study by his team, confirming that potentised Gibberellic Acid (GA 30c) influences wheat stalk growth. They also detected an interesteing phenomenon whereby the effect of GA 30c was dependent on the season during which the experiment was carried out, with the strongest effects being observed in autumn.
The groups of Dr Baumgartner and Dr Betti, as well as Dr Borisovna, presented a promising new method for measuring effects of homeopathic medicines on the crystallisation of samples and analysis of the complexity of the ensuing patterns. These methods are showing promising results in terms of reproducibility and could provide a reliable readout of homeopathy effects in the future.
Dr Baumgartner also presented his review of the basic research in homeopathy, stressing the need for adequate controls and reproduction of results once in different labs. Such intensive work being carried out by these various teams worldwide to continually improve methods used in basic science research of homeopathy, bodes well for future developments in the field.