We work to promote high quality research in homeopathy, to explain the research evidence and methods used and to disseminate the results of research.
Clinical data collection
We have conducted pilot clinical data collection projects in medical, dental and veterinary homeopathy, with further completed projects being written up for publication. This programme of work provides clinical data from “the real world” and is helping us to identify where research should be directed.
Medical – suggested research directions: anxiety, depression, eczema and irritable bowel syndrome. Full article
A study conducted across all UK NHS homeopathic hospitals found that eczema, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), menopausal disorder and osteoarthritis were the most commonly referred. The rate of patient-reported improvement was slower in CFS patients compared with osteoarthritis patients, for example. Full article
Dental – suggested research directions: apical abscess, pulpitis, sensitive cementum. Full article
A study focused on periodontal dentistry noted that acute conditions responded more positively to homeopathic intervention than chronic conditions. Full article
Veterinary – suggested research directions: arthritis and epilepsy in dogs; hyperthyroid and gingivitis in cats. Full article
A much larger clinical data collection study corroborated the above findings: in cats, a commonly treated condition with positive outcome was again hyperthyroidism; in dogs, arthritis and otitis externa were prominent. Owner-reported moderate-major improvement was recorded overall in 63% of feline cases and in 68% of canine cases. Full article
A collaborative project with researchers at the Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, University of Bristol, studied the effect of homeopathic treatment on canine atopic dermatitis. The results, which showed substantial clinical improvement in 5 of 20 dogs, were published in the Veterinary Record.1
Programme of systematic reviews
To appreciate the clinical research evidence in homeopathy in more detail, we have undertaken a comprehensive programme to review systematically the published literature of randomised controlled trials (RCTs)in both human medicine (full article) and veterinary medicine (full article). We have also begun to research an important but previously unexplored facet of clinical trial quality: model validity.2
This large component of the BHA’s current work is more fully described in Our systematic review programme. The work benefits from collaboration with colleagues at the Carstens Foundation in Germany and at the Robertson Centre for Biostatistics in Glasgow.
Creating a culture of research
The BHA is working to build research awareness and an infrastructure for research within the membership of the Faculty of Homeopathy, the professional body for doctors and other healthcare professionals practising homeopathy.
Short courses in research methods
One of our key achievements since 2001 was a series of short courses in research methods organised in different regions of the UK, establishing research dialogue and activity amongst Faculty members.
We offer detailed advice to Faculty members and non-Faculty homeopaths on individual projects and in developing their research proposals and potential collaborations with universities.
The BHA does not award research grants. Instead, we are developing a novel research programme within a lively research culture in homeopathy, and from a clear and comprehensive evaluation of the existing research evidence base.
1. Hill PB, Hoare J, Lau-Gillard P, Rybnicek J, Mathie RT. Pilot study of the effect of individualised homeopathy on the pruritus associated with atopic dermatitis in dogs. Veterinary Record 2009; 164; 365-370.
2. Mathie RT, Roniger H, van Wassenhoven M, Frye J, Jacobs J, Oberbaum M, Bordet M-F, Nayak C, Chaufferin G, Ives JA, Dantas F, Fisher P. Method for appraising model validity of randomised controlled trials of homeopathic treatment: multi-rater concordance study. BMC Medical Research Methodology 2012; 12: 49.