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U Conn Medical School to Host Web-Accessible Debate on Homeopathy: Is it Quackery or ... ? PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

U Conn Medical School to Host Web-Accessible Debate on Homeopathy: Is it Quackery?

Summary:  The October 25, 2007 event is entitled: A Debate: Homeopathy - Quackery or a Key to the Future of Medicine? Organizers advertise that this is the first time that such an exploration will be blessed by a medical school. The University of Connecticut Health Center is the sponsor. Content from the 6 international participants, on basic sciences, clinical sciences and historical evidence. At least one participant is on the record urging that the NIH NCCAM be shut down. The event, which will be web-accessible for viewers, will be moderated by reporters from National Public Radio. One cannot tell yet if the differences will get a full House of Commons style airing ...
University of Connecticut Health Center, homeopathy, debate, Guerrera
University of Connecticut Health Center: Large edifice to explore infinitesimal dose ...
Homeopathy is not typically at the top of the list of therapies offered in integrative medical school educational and clinical programs. In fact, despite strong clinical interest from research leaders such as Brian Berman, MD and Wayne Jonas, MD, championing this therapy which breaks all the rules of conventional medical thinking has its singular challenges. You mean when there's less of the substance there's more power in the medicine?

The editors British Medical Journal captured this medically nauseating uneasiness 16 years ago when, in an issue in which it published a review of the literature which suggested these infinitesimal doses could be effective, the editors had to run an editorial which distanced themselves from the evidence.
(Kleijnen J, Knipschild P, ter Riet G. Clinical trials of homoeopathy. BMJ 1991;302:316-23)

On October 25, 2007, homeopathy comes into the University of Connecticut School of Medicine in what is being billed as a 'historic debate."  Peter Gold, a biologist who is serving as a publicist for the program, told the Integrator that "this event will mark the first time that a major U.S. medical school has examined this subject in this depth."

The debate will be moderated by hosts from National Public Radio. The faculty members who brought this to pass are Mary P. Guerrera, MD, an integrative medicine leader at the school, and Thiruchandurai Rajan, MD. Here's the skinny.


Homeopathy Debate at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine



University of Connecticut Health Center
Date   Thursday, October 25, 2007 
Time   2:00 PM-4:00 PM Eastern Time
Physical Location
  Low Learning Center, UCHC
Virtual Location
  Click here to enter
Faculty Sponsors
  Mary P. Guerrera, MD
T.V. Rajan, M D


Topic to Explore

Rustrum Roy, PhD (U Penn)
Steve Novella, MD (Yale)
  Basic sciences
Iris Bell, MD (U Arizona)
Donald Marcus, MD (Baylor)
  Clinical evidence
Andre Saine, ND (Canadian 
Academy for Homeopathy)
Nadav Davidovitch MD, PhD
(Columbia/Ben Gurion)

  Historical evidence

Pro & Con Presentations

45 minutes for each team

30 minutes

National Public Radio reporters

From materials provided by Peter Gold.

integrative medicine, homeopathy
Mary Guerrera, MD, a faculty co-sponsor of the debate
While the event is presented as a debate, information provided by the sponsors
indicates that the speakers will be "discussing" the topics. A query from the Integrator discovered a format which is less inter-active than the idea of debate suggests. The two teams will making presentations more as a panel, followed by some give-and-take. The pro/con split for the teams appears to be:

  • Pro: Roy, Bell and Saine
  • Con: Novella, Marcus and Davidovitch

According to event materials, 10 million souls around the globe presently use homeopathy. The event will be broadcast over the internet and archived by the university for future viewing. For information, Peter Gold at .

Comment:  A full blown debate, with debate format, was especially appealing.  However, it sounds like what will occur is a set of panelists on opposite sides of, well, history and science, discussing a compelling theme. Still, this could get interesting. Marcus is a long-time anti-CAM fellow, who has made it known in Science that he'd just as soon shut down the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine as a waste of federal research dollars better spent elsewhere. (See related Integrator story.) 

Here's hoping that the discussion is allowed to heat up a bit to honor the passion on both sides of the argument. The key question in scoring the debate's outcome will we be whether judges will recognize both punches landed in the whole form and those that arrive fully succussed and only register energetically.

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