Water Research Laboratory

What is this project about?

Current research points towards the likely existence of water structures which, although being largely unexplored, in principle have the necessary characteristics to explain the mechanism of action of homeopathic medicines.

The Water Research Laboratory aims to investigate these new water structures using a multidisciplinary approach involving theoretical physics, mathematical modelling and experimental exploration. 

In the field of the physics of high dilutions, which has immediate relevance to homeopathy, many research groups have reported interesting findings. In particular, Prof Luc Montagnier (who won the Nobel Prize for discovering the HIV/AIDS virus), has shown homeopathic dilutions to have electromagnetic properties which differ from those of normal water1,2

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In 2009, Nobel Prize winner, Prof Luc Montagnier, and his team reported the results of a series of experiments investigating the electromagnetic (EM) properties of highly-diluted biological samples.

They found that pathogenic bacteria and viruses show a distinct EM signature at dilutions ranging from 10-5 to 10-12 and that small DNA fragments (responsible for pathogenicity) were solely accountable for the EM signal. The EM signature changed with dilution levels but was unaffected by the initial concentration and remained even after the remaining DNA fragments were destroyed by chemical agents.

They observed that the EM signal was destroyed by heating or freezing the sample. Also, a ‘cross-talk’ effect was found whereby a samples interacted with one another when left together overnight in a shielded container. It was also noted that the samples needed be vortexed (a shaking process akin to succussion) for the EM effects to be present. They propose that specific aqueous nano-structures form in the samples during the dilution process and are responsible for the EM effects measured.

With this initial paper Prof Montagnier and his team have started a very promising line of enquiry, which has direct relevance to homeopathy as they continue to investigate the characteristic physico-chemical properties found in high-dilutions of biological material.

The initial efforts of the HRI/WRL collaboration are centered around repeating the famous basophil degranulation experiments of the late Dr Jacques Benveniste (1935-2004)3, with the aim of making the experiment more easily reproducible in standard laboratory setting and of studying important physical parameters crucial to the phenomenon. In particular we aim to study the influence of electromagnetic fields on the system, in line with Prof Luc Montagnier’s recent results.

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Benveniste was a eminent French immunologist, adviser to the French government on scientific issue, he was the director of INSERM unit 200, directed at immunology, allergy and inflammation.

In a seminal paper published in the prestigious journal Nature in 1988, Dr Benveniste’s team of  reported their results investigating the effects of high-dilutions on human basophils (a type of white blood cell). They diluted a solution of human anti-IgE antibodies in water to such a degree that there was virtually no possibility that a single molecule of the antibody remained in the water solution. They reported, human basophils responded to the solutions just as though they had encountered the original antibody (part of the allergic reaction). The effect was reported only when the solution was shaken violently during dilution.

This publication led to a large controversy around ‘the memory of water‘. Since then 28 scientific papers have been published in this area, 23 of which reported positive results. Of the 11 publications judged to be of high quality, 8 (72%) reported positive results.4

Lead researcher

Alexander Tournier BSc DIC MASt Cantab PhD

Dr Tournier studied physics at Imperial College, London, and theoretical physics at the University of Cambridge. He wrote his PhD on the biophysics of water-protein interactions at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. For the last 10 years he has been conducting interdisciplinary research at the boundaries between mathematics, physics and biology, as an independent researcher for Cancer Research UK (5th institute worldwide for molecular biology).

Why is this project important?

Confirming the existence of structured phase of water would have considerable ramifications not only for homeopathy, but could also lead to completely novel therapeutic and diagnostic techniques. 

 Dr Alexander Tournier PhD

Author publicationsLess

  1. Tozluoğlu M, Tournier AL, Jenkins RP, Hooper S, Bates PA, Sahai E. Matrix geometry determines optimal cancer cell migration strategy and modulates response to interventions. Nature Cell Biology. 2013, 15(7):751-62 | Pubmed
  2. Mao Y, Tournier AL, Hoppe A, Kester L, Thompson BJ, Tapon N. Differential proliferation rates generate patterns of mechanical tension that orient tissue growth. EMBO J. 2013, 32(21):2790-803 | Pubmed
  3. Mao Y, Tournier AL, Bates PA, Gale JE, Tapon N, Thompson BJ. Planar polarization of the atypical myosin Dachs orients cell divisions in Drosophila. Genes Dev. 2011, 25(2):131-6. | Pubmed
  4. Schmierer B, Tournier AL, Bates PA, Hill CS. Mathematical modeling identifies Smad nucleocytoplasmic shuttling as a dynamic signal-interpreting system. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008; 105(18):6608-13. | Pubmed
  5. Tournier AL, Réat V, Dunn R, Daniel R, Smith JC, Finney J. Temperature and timescale dependence of protein dynamics in methanol : water mixtures. Phys Chem Chem Phys. 2005, B(7):1388-93. | Pubmed
  6. Tournier AL, Smith JC. Principal components of the protein dynamical transition. Phys Rev Lett. 2003; 91(20):208106. | Pubmed
  7. Tournier AL, Xu J, Smith JC. Translational hydration water dynamics drives the protein glass transition. Biophys J. 2003, 85(3):1871 | Pubmed

ReferencesLess

  1. Montagnier, L., Aïssa, J., Ferris, S., Montagnier, J.-L. & Lavalléee, C. Electromagnetic signals are produced by aqueous nanostructures derived from bacterial DNA sequences. Interdiscip. Sci. Comput. Life Sci. 2009, 1, 81–90. | Pubmed
  2. Montagnier, L. et al. DNA waves and water. J. Phys. Conf. Ser. 306, 012007 (2011). | Link
  3. Davenas E, et al. Human basophil degranulation triggered by very dilute antiserum against IgE. Nature. 1988 333(6176):816-8. | Pubmed
  4. Witt CM, Bluth M, Albrecht H, Weisshuhn TE, Baumgartner S, Willich SN. The in vitro evidence for an effect of high homeopathic potencies–a systematic review of the literature. Complement Ther Med. 2007 Jun;15(2):128-38. | Pubmed

Project: hriwaterlab

Funding WRL

Funding status

Research activities starting Dec 2014, ongoing funding required of £50k/year