Complex Modern Experiment Demonstrates Homeopathic Remedy Has Effect on Gene Expression

Both high and low homeopathic potencies of Gelseminium sempervirins were used to see if it would affect the gene expression of a human neurocyte cell line. The experiment was successful and provides evidence that Gelsemium s. “exerts a prevalently inhibitory effect on a series of neurocyte genes across a wide dose-range.” The complexity of modern scientific experimental planning, technique, equipment, experimental controls and quality controls that were used are all quite remarkable. 

Background
Gelsemium sempervirens L. (Gelsemium s.) is a traditional medicinal plant, employed as an anxiolytic at ultra-low doses and animal models recently confirmed this activity. However the mechanisms by which it might operate on the nervous system are largely unknown. This work investigates the gene expression of a human neurocyte cell line treated with increasing dilutions of Gelsemium s. extract.
Methods
Starting from the crude extract, six 100 × (centesimal, c) dilutions of Gelsemium s. (2c, 3c, 4c, 5c, 9c and 30c) were prepared according to the French homeopathic pharmacopoeia. Human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells were exposed for 24 h to test dilutions, and their transcriptome compared by microarray to that of cells treated with control vehicle solutions.
Results
Exposure to the Gelsemium s. 2c dilution (the highest dose employed, corresponding to a gelsemine concentration of 6.5 × 10-9 M) significantly changed the expression of 56 genes, of which 49 were down-regulated and 7 were overexpressed. Several of the down-regulated genes belonged to G-protein coupled receptor signaling pathways, calcium homeostasis, inflammatory response and neuropeptide receptors. Fisher exact test, applied to the group of 49 genes down-regulated by Gelsemium s. 2c, showed that the direction of effects was significantly maintained across the treatment with high homeopathic dilutions, even though the size of the differences was distributed in a small range.
Conclusions
The study shows that Gelsemium s., a medicinal plant used in traditional remedies and homeopathy, modulates a series of genes involved in neuronal function. A small, but statistically significant, response was detected even to very low doses/high dilutions (up to 30c), indicating that the human neurocyte genome is extremely sensitive to this regulation.

This study provides evidence that Gelsemium s. exerts a prevalently inhibitory effect on a series of neurocyte genes across a wide dose-range. The effect decreases with increasing dilutions, but whole genome expression analysis allowed to detect statistically significant changes even at the highest dilutions tested (9c and 30c). The results suggest the extreme sensitivity of human gene expression to regulation by ultra-low doses and high dilutions/dynamizations of a plant remedy and encourage further efforts in research on this field. Studies using “omic-based” approaches and systems biology should be particularly worthy at generating new hypotheses on mechanisms for the effects of highly diluted natural compounds.

See the write up here: Extreme sensitivity of gene expression in human SH-SY5Y neurocytes to ultra-low doses of Gelsemium sempervirens

British ASA Skeptics “Defame” Swiss Government Experts in Attempt to Squelch Homeopathy

The Swiss Health Technology Assessment (HTA) was founded in 1999 for the scientific evaluation of medical technologies on the basis of their effectiveness, appropriateness, and efficiency, as well as social and ethical aspects and implications. All government agencies, all University Institutes, several University Hospitals dealing with Technology Assessment and the Swiss Medical Association are members and give input on any therapy being considered. A number of years ago, the Swiss used precise scientific information and this input to come to the conclusion that homeopathy should be integrated into the Swiss National Health system and paid for under the Swiss government medical system. They generated an authoritative report that was remarkable in its rigorous thoroughness and scientific comprehensiveness.

The British Advertising Authority, (ASA) which is a private a company, in a process of evaluating advertising by homeopathic practitioners rejected this HTA report outright. The professors of medicine who wrote the Swiss government report on homeopathy have complained that the authors of the British Advertising Authority report either did not bother to read their report or “bizarrely” stated falsehoods about it. The professors claim they have been “defamed” and that the report is false and the report as well as subsequent handling of complaints by the ASA was thoroughly unprofessional and misleading.

The Swiss professors of medicine wrote to the British ASA:

“In conclusion, we state that your writing does not even begin to approach a professional standard. We take great exception to your untenable allegation that we researched this important subject with the superficiality that you suggest, an implication that we consider defamatory. You accuse us of basing our conclusions largely on a reworking of one deeply flawed paper, the Shang study. Yet this is the one paper on which you appear to have based your own conclusions, which are flatly contradicted by swathes of contrary evidence of which you revealingly make no mention. We find this bizarre.

It is customary that authors whose work is misrepresented should have the right of a reply to be published in the same location as the attack was published. We therefore demand that you please place our reply on your website, with equal prominence to your own text.”…

“Aside from a legal incumbency to present facts truthfully and to correct errors made, I hope we can agree as a question of basic morality that members of the public should not be subjected to false or misleading communications – including yours.”

The ASA representatives brushed off the complaints in a perfunctory manner and have refused to publish any of the positive Swiss government conclusions on homeopathy written by unbiased Swiss scientific experts.

More…