Report by Alexander Tournier and Rachel Roberts

The annual Symposium of the Groupe International de Recherche sur l’Infinitésimal (International Research Group on Very Low Dose and High Dilution Effects) took place in Bern, Switzerland on 3rd and 4th September 2013. The meeting was held in the iconic main building of the University of Bern. As our host, Dr Stephan Baumgartner, commented in his speech of welcome, this in itself is a reflection of the growing integration of high dilution research into University research as a whole.

Dr Alexander Tournier (HRI Executive Director) was delighted to be invited to present his theory as to how Quantum Coherence Domains could be at the heart of the mechanism of action of potentised ultra-molecular dilutions. The fundamental nature of this topic fitted well with the theme of the meeting, which concentrated on exploring basic research in Homeopathy.

Multiple teams from Brazil, India and Italy were in attendance to share their work which aims to answer key practical questions such as:

• Do electromagnetic fields from mobile phones affect potentised substances such as homeopathic medicines?

• Do sterilisation techniques alter potentised substances? If so, which are the best sterilisation techniques to use during experiments to avoid damaging the substance being tested (the ‘verum’)?

• What is the best control for animal experiments? Is there any difference between using distilled water, alcohol, succussed distilled water or succussed alcohol? We know that succussed water and succussed alcohol have measurable effects in physico-chemical studies, but do they have an effect on animal models?

It was great to hear about teams around the world chipping away at these questions, which have wide-reaching implications for laboratory, experimental and clinical research in Homeopathy.

The meeting provided a forum for teams to share the latest results from research projects investigating the potential for homeopathy to treat specific medical conditions and exploring potential mechanisms of action, such as:

Brazilian Prof Silvana Marques de Araújo is exploring the use of a mice model to investigate the effectiveness of homeopathy in the treatment of Trypanosoma cruzi infection for which there is currently no cure; Prof Carla Holendino presented the results of her work using homeopathic preparations in the treatment of ‘flu both in vivo and in a triple-blind study on children in Brazil; Dr Klaus von Ammon from Switzerland presented the results of a study assessing the longterm impact of homeopathic treatment in children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder and Dr Marta Marzotto of Prof Paolo Bellavite’s group in Verona presented results showing the effects of the homeopathic medicine Gelsemium on the level of expression of certain genes in neuronal cells.

Although the GIRI organisation is not widely known beyond the immediate high dilution and homeopathy research scene, the fact that scientists such as these, from respected Universities around the world have been meeting annually for 27 years, is a testament to their commitment and dedication to exploring the phenomena of ‘potentised’ or ‘dynamised’ dilutions – a group of preparations which includes homeopathic medicines. We look forward to hearing of their progress at the 2014 GIRI symposium.