Friday, 23 November 2018

UK Homeopathy Organisations #2

previous post looked at UK homeopathy organisations most closely linked to medical homeopathy. This looks at other organisations.

There is no accusation of conspiracy. At most, an attempt to create an illusion of more organisations than there are.



4Homeopathy
Although 4Homeopathy does have a website, it's not particularly informative. 
Our intention is to be a central “hub” for accurate information on current campaigns to retain access to homeopathy and details on how you can get involved and make your voice heard. Without public and patient support we will not be successful.
This article from Andy Lewis's Quackometer blog is from 2015 but it clearly explains what lies behind 4Homeopathy and some of its activities. It provides useful context.

This from the School of Homeopathy details some of the activities of 4Homeopathy. IMani Norland is a key player. Em Colley has contributed a lot of content. Colley does not grasp that social media can be considered advertising. Colley also had a run in with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) regarding CEASE therapy. Beyond that difficult to say who is directly involved and does what.

The groups involved with 4Homeopathy are -
  • Alliance of Registered Homeopaths
  • British Homeopathic Association
  • British Association of Homeopathic Manufacturers
  • British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons
  • Faculty of Homeopathy
  • Friends of the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine
  • Homeopathy Action Trust
  • Homeopathic Course Providers Forum
  • Homeopathic Research Institute
  • Society of Homeopaths
There are links to groups in Australia (Australian Homeopathic Association) and Hong Kong. It is known that Prof. Aaron To Ka Lun has donated money via different organisations. He is not a professor.

The campaigns that 4Homepathy and the linked groups seem to promote are -
  • "Homeopathy works for me"
  • A directory of homeopaths
  • Attacking the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons stance on CAM
  • Supporting strange US groups re FDA enforcement policy on homeopathic drugs
  • "Release the First Report"
  • A petition to have the Wikipedia entry for homeopathy changed
  • "Saving" NHS homeopathy
There's a problem with "Homeopathy works for me" - a correct formation would be I believe Homeopathy worked for me in the past. Some previous celebrity testimonials in which state they only use homeopathy have turned out to be untrue. BHA has long used celebrity testimonials and seem to be the source. 

Some of these testiminonials, including mere patient ones, are likely in breach of the CAP Code, consumer protection law and possibly medicines regulations. A site containing a database of practitioners would very likely be considered marketing more so given practitioners can add content. It promotes the businesses of individual homeopaths.

The Snooks
The health benefits of homeopathy are now being championed a by a new group of supporters, the Snooks. These colourful cartoon characters appear in three short animated films aimed at providing the general public with basic information about the complementary therapy. The 40-second films were created in partnership with director/animator Sam Norland, (Mani's brother) who has previously worked for such notable clients as the V&A, Virgin Media, Nissan and Hat Trick Productions. Launched in 2014 the films deliver three simple messages: About homeopathy, The benefits of homeopathy and What is it like to see a homeopath: Watch The Snooks.


Who are these videos are aimed at? Are they effective at reaching beyond supporters of homeopathy?

There is also Homeopathy Awareness Week which is separate from World Homeopathy Awareness Week but at the same time. It used to generate more media interest than it has recently. 4Homeopathy produce a lot of leaflets/posters, some of which can be downloaded.

The strange world of supporters of homeopathy for animals will be the subject of a future post but it is known that some of those involved are anti-vaxxers, push CEASE therapy and engage in very questionable tactics. Whether 4Homeopathy are aware of the nature of these people is unknown.

The US situation was described here (but things have moved on a little since that was written - there will likely be an update) but why 4Homeopathy are having anything to do with this is unclear. It's US specific, has no impact on anywhere else and those involved in the campaign are very odd to say the least. What 4Homeopathy's involvement is unclear but it is know that Norland has been to the US. 

4Homeopathy mention a petition directed at Jimmy Wales but there are a number of petitions out there. Some closed, some still open. It's not clear what which one they are referring to but as they don't give a link, it is likely closed. 4Homeopathy et al obviously do not understand the principles of Wikipedia. Whilst Wikipedia is far from perfect, it can be argued that some of the articles at least represent a consensus scientific/medical position.

The #ReleaseTheFirstReport website clearly states that is managed by 4Homeopathy. It has a Twitter account, Facebook page (which is especially bonkers), Instagram account and YouTube channel. The timing of post suggests that someone in the UK is making them. This campaign will be discussed in greater detail below. 

The only campaign directed mentioned on 4Homeopathy site is the NHS one and the items were posted by BHA employ Sasha El Masry. BHA and Friends of the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine attempts to "save" NHS homeopathy have failed. 4Homeopathy and the lay homeopathy organisations did push the BHA's petition and crowdfunding, the Society of Homeopaths even contributed £5,000 to the BHA they could ill afford.

4Homeopathy organised "A United Voice". This report is puffery but does not say the meeting was originally at Resource for London but ended up at CAN Mezzanine. The flyer gives an Society of Homeopaths (SoH) email address and the booking was via the SoH. From the report. 
We need to hold on to this energy to help build a bold and beautiful future for homeopathy in the UK.
Cristal Sumner from BHA, Em Colley and someone from CAM4Animals spoke.
Our Profession, Our brand - workshop day
UK homeopathy unites to plan for the future. 150 people, 100+ ideas, 12 projects, 11 organisations, 1 great day. On Saturday 7 March 2015 one hundred and fifty homeopaths and students gathered in London for a unique event to help shape the future of the profession. Over the course of the day over 100 ideas were collected and by close 12 key projects had been shared and agreed upon. For the first time in the history of UK homeopathy, every sector of the profession was assembled at one event, unified by a common goal – to plan for the future.
4Homeopathy talk about media training. 
The School of Homeopathy paid for a group of 8 spokespeople across registers and expertise to be trained extensively and who are now better prepared for media interviews. Use of the toolkit is an essential prerequisite for those engaging with the media and the arguments have been road tested by experts.
And
Homeopathy finds a voice
Homeopathy finds a voice
The School of Homeopathy and the Homeopathy Action Trust filmed 8 media trained individuals on topics of interest to the public, patients, and those undecided about homeopathy – to view these, visit: www.youtube.com/user/SchoolofHomeopathy 
As a coordinator of UK homeopathy PR activity, it is not particularly effective. Whatever guidance/training it gives is either often wrong or ignored. Some groups and individuals spout nonsense is not "on brand". There are a groups and individuals outside of that circle who do the "brand" more damage than good. 

There isn't an obvious associated limited company or charity. It is not always clear who "owns" which websites/social media accounts. 

Donations to  4Homeopathy have come from -
Note no mention of donations after 2015.

There is a shop on the FindAHomeopath website (PayPal account is called "Find a Homeopath") but "For larger quantities, please e-mail order@helios.co.uk for a quote". Helios do have storage and fulfilment facilities. It's possible to make donations here on 4Homeopathy website (same Paypal account).


School of Homeopathy
It was formed in 1981 by Misha Norland. His son, Mani, took over as Principal in 2009. A limited company, In-Light Limited, was formed in 2003. The directors are Mani and Amanda Jane Norland. Both are homeopaths. Mani has a background in "brand management" or something similar, Amanda in graphic design. Mani's bio on the Faculty page -
Mani is a founding member of Homeopathy Course Providers Forum and a founding member of the 4Homeopathy (the pro homeopathy group of 11 organsations in the UK). With this group Mani has been instrumental in the re-branding of homeopathy in the UK with the development of a new logo, the findahomeopath website, celebrity campaigns and media intervention. Mani also teaches students in the 4th year about setting up in practice. In his ‘other life’ Mani worked in London as a brand and business consultant for over 10 years. He advised board level directors on business creation, vision and image. Mani is passionate about the positive promotion of homeopathy to the general public and has written many consumer facing articles on homeopathy, lectured internationally and been interviewed on BBC radio several times.
It has a Twitter account Facebook page, Pinterest account(!) and YouTube channel. Its activity most promotes the School although it does boost some of 4Homeopathy messages.

The School of Health has a separate website but it is part of the same company. It is a re-branding of Alternative Training. It offers online courses in "Nutrition Therapy", Yoga, Homeopathy, Naturopathy and something called "Medical Science

It commissioned a poll and produced the laughable National Health Survey


Homeopathy Action Trust
The Homeopathy Act Trust (HAT) is very closely linked to the SoH. Indeed, it was once called "The Society of Homeopaths Trust Company Limited". It's stated mission is  -
  • increasing awareness of homeopathy as a valid and effective healthcare option
  • promoting education and research
  • providing information and support to patients, students and practitioners
  • galvanising and unifying the homeopathic community
  • fostering a culture of clarity, openness, inclusivity and altruism
  • working independently and in partnership with other organisations to fund healthcare and research projects
The current trustees/directors are -
  • Jacqueline Anne BECKER
  • Diane Christine BRINDLEY
  • Mary Therese HARCOURT-ELLIS
  • Simon Mark TAFFLER
Taffler has been mentioned on this blog re CEASE therapy and Homeopathy international. Some previous trustees/directors are familiar - UK homeopathy is a small world. 

The Quackometer blog discusses HAT's attempts to define the "brand" of homeopathy here. That article is well worth reading but this video explains a lot.


The video does not reveal -
The purpose of the weekend was to find and define the "brand" homeopathy. Using a range of different modes: drumming, singing, drawing a life model, theatre, small group discussion, we were guided though the weekend. Fascinating to experience how the material developed, totally based on what we as homeopaths actually said, and how Debbie [Taffler] and Duncan facilitated, and fairly and accurately represented the profession.
Homeopathy is not a "brand". Individual homeopaths are not running franchises of McHomeopathy. Homeopathy has doctrinal divisions. There is the medical/lay homeopath split but the splits go beyond that. Some homeopaths are difficult to say the least and hardly cooperative or team players. Building a brand from a non self-consistent fiction is hard. PR can not fix a product, organisation or movement that is defective.

4Homeopathy formed after this. HAT did provide assistance to 4Homeopathy in the past but had to lay off staff. 

HAT is notorious for funding the activities of Western homeopaths in Africa. This is beyond the scope of this post. It is well documented elsewhere.


Homeopathy: Medicine for the 21st Century
It's difficult to tell if H:MC21 is still active. The Charity Commission record suggests that it is moribund. Its past activities can be best described as eccentric but it can be argued some of them prefigure 4Homeopathy's activities.

H:MC21 created Homeopathy worked for me. It is very amateur. The antipathy towards the ASA is not yet fully formed in terms of the "ASA is just a limited company".


Homeopathy Research Institute
HRI is both a charity and limited company. It conducts no research, it mostly gives grants. In the UK "institute" is a sensitive word re company names -
Approval to use this word is normally only given to fully functioning established organisations that are already functioning as an institute, but operate under a different name. The range of activities may vary, but institutes are organisations that typically undertake research at the highest level, or are professional bodies of the highest standing.
Records don't reveal any name change. HRI isn't a professional body. 

The trustees -
  • Elizabeth Anita THOMPSON
  • Alexander Louis TOURNIER
  • Petter VIKSVEEN
  • Charles Jose WANSBROUGH
The Scientific Advisory Committee -
  • Dr Stephan Baumgartner
  • Prof Dr Iris Bell
  • Prof Dr Paolo Bellavite
  • Prof Dr Christian Endler
  • Dr Jennifer Jacobs
  • Dr Robert Mathie
  • Dr Elizabeth Thompson
  • Dr Alexander Tournier
HRI employ Rachel Roberts as CEO but there is no sign of other employees.

HRI collaborate with the Karl und Veronica Carstens-Stiftung on a database of homeopathic research. There are other databases/search engines that can return research. Criteria for inclusion in the database are unclear.

HRI funds various research projects.

Investigating the physico-chemical properties of high dilutions seems to involve solvatochromic dyes and spectroscopy.  What Steven Cartwright seems to be claiming in this paper is that a solvatochromic dye emits different spectra mixed with different 50M homeopathic solutions. 50M is a 10^150 (one with a 150 zeros after) - way beyond the molar limit. The probability of any molecule of the original substance remaining is zero for practical purposes. The paper mentions DiagnOx which is a serviced lab. Cartwright is not employed there. He rents space.

The complexity of water fuels much research in this highly active field. Current investigations suggest there may be a great deal yet to discover about its properties. Water continues to surprise us. The more we explore its characteristics, the more properties we discover. 
The Water Research Lab aims to investigate the full potential of water using a multidisciplinary approach involving theoretical physics, mathematical modelling and experimental exploration.
They use - 
  • Near infra-red spectroscopy
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance
  • Dynamic Light Scattering
  • Conductivity
  • Thermogravimetry
  • Mass-spectrometry
  • EM Signal Analysis
Alex Tournier is the "lead investigator". As a trustee of HRI, there is a potential conflict of interest and breach of charity law. The Charity Commission have been known to act. There are other governance questions.

The utility of searching for (very indirect) evidence of a putative mechanism of action for homeopathy must be questioned in the absence of evidence for action. The impression is of indulgence - "boys playing with toys". 

Money associated with Robert Mathie came from the Manchester Homeopathy Clinic. It is for systematic reviews. This money was with the BHA until Mathie left. Mathie's work is not well regarded (the comments are worth reading).  

The Manchester Homeopathy Clinic is a mystery. It possibly goes back to  1860. It moved several times but ended up at 13 Brunswick Street, Manchester. In 1987 it was run by Dr. George Burns. No sign exists now. Burns is long retired.

HRI funded Phillipa Fibert's ADHD research to the tune of over £100,000. Fibert has been mentioned on this blog before. Before the STAR project, Fibert conducted a case series jointly funded by HRI and the Turners Court Youth Trust.

The Protocol for the STAR (Sheffield Treatments for ADHD) project makes for worrying reading. Clare Relton is named as a member of the Management Committee and Steering group and helped devise the project. Relton was a trustee of when grant agreed - a potential conflict of interest. The SoH published a puff piece on it. Enquiries are being made.

Trustee Petter Vikseen also received money from HRI whilst a trustee for his PhD research into homeopathic treatment of depression. Relton is involved. Potential conflict of interest yet again. £10,000 was given to HRI for the project by another student.

There is other research too but it is not interesting.

HRI had ambitious plans to gain funding from an uninterested public.  Most of HRI's funding has comes from the Pen Shell Project. It is funded by sale of artworks belonging to HRI trustee Charles Wansbrough. Wansbrough has long has an interest in more esoteric forms of CAM. This archived version of his website mentions "biolumentics".
HRI runs biennial conferences. The last was in Malta (which is ironic). This report on the conference reveals 15 homeopaths and researchers were given money to attend from the Manchester Homeopathy Clinic via HRI Previous conferences were held in Rome and Barcelona.

The HRI also were involved with (if not the primary driver of) attempts to "debunk" the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) report on homeopathy. This is a very murky business. It would appeal that the Ombudsman complaint exists but who submitted it is unclear.

There are many reasons to discard a first draft. It is strange to suggest that it was suppressed because it somehow proves homeopathy works. No report that is based on a review of existing studies could do that. 

It is not a tactic that promotes homeopathy to the public. It plays to existing supporters.

Just One Drop
From the School of Homeopathy -
On the 6th April 2017 4H hosted a red carpet VIP event and the world premier of Just One Drop a documentary about homeopathy. The event took place in London's Soho at the prestigious Curzon Soho Cinema. Celebrities, media, MPs and healthcare leaders watch the movie and engaged in a Q&A discussion about UK homeopathy after the movie. The premier was perfectly timed to create a buzz just before World Heath Day on the 7th April and Homeopathy Awareness Week on the 10th April.

After the premier 4H continued to promote the movie and it went on to have many public screenings up and down the country. In the future the movie will be available to stream online.
ALEX TOURNIER AND RACHEL ROBERTS 
Alex is a physicist who contracted an illness that conventional medicine could not help. After trying homeopathy, which he called “the least impressive medicine,” he got better. It became his life passion to figure out how it worked. He founded the Homeopathy Research Institute (HRI), a charitable organization in London whose mission is to explore the science behind homeopathy. RACHEL ROBERTS was studying biology when she first heard about homeopathy and thought it was “bollocks.” After investigating further she changed her mind and later joined Alex as the CEO of HRI.
They are in the film. Roberts has turned up to Q&A sessions.

It's American and there aren't strong links to the UK but in this video Roberts speaks about the Ombudsman complaint. It links to 4Homeopathy and a Mathie systematic review. 

The Twitter account says an "epilogue" is coming. It has a photo of Alex Tournier. 


Effective?
None of the campaigns and initiatives of UK homeopathy organisations have amounted to very much. But would things be worse if they had done nothing?

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