Influenza Research in 2007-2008 continued

Of the 9 patients meeting the clinical criteria for influenza, 7 had a symptom picture of the homeopathic remedy Phosphorus. For the 7 who were prescribed Phosphorus, the average length of illness was 4.1 days (1.8 days before and 2.3 after treatment).

Though a very small sample, which was not designed to be a controlled prospective trial, this preliminary data suggested that correctly chosen homeopathic remedies shorten the total time of illness compared to the untreated family members and appeared to shorten the illness faster than treatment response with currently approved drugs. (Obviously, the numbers are not statistically large enough, and we are not suggesting a switch of treatments based on these results, but it does speak to the possibility of moving forward with an inquiry into homeopathic treatment of people suffering from influenza). Children especially show a faster response to treatment.  We were also able to observe that homeopathic treatment may have a better outcome when given earlier in the infection, a phenomenon also seen in antiviral drugs.


As regards treatment choice, one remedy in particular (Phosphorus) was more often called for in this seasonal epidemic, during the timeframe of the study. Since Phosphorus was the predominant remedy appropriate for the patients meeting the influenza criteria, it is considered to be the genus epidemicus for the 2007-2008 flu season, at the time of the case series.  Earlier in this same flu season, outside of this observational trial, I had found Phosphoric Acid, Pulsatilla, and Sulphur to be the genus epidemicus for distinct time periods.


To complete this cycle, I developed a questionnaire, which then Liz Kaltman and Ryan Kirkby adapted into proper language, to guide non-homeopaths in deciding whether Phosphorus would be appropriate for any presenting ILI patient (See “2007-2008 Flu Questionnaire” on next page).  The questionnaire was developed to test the transferability of homeopathic prescribing to non-homeopathic health providers in the event of a pandemic or other public health emergency. Specifically we were interested in how quickly it could be developed, and how precise and accurate it could be.  Though the questionnaire was not used to select patients for treatment in the 2007-2008 preliminary observation, the questionnaire and scoring system were retrospectively applied to the treated patients, and was found to have successfully identified all the Phosphorus cases, and to have not mistakenly picked any non-Phosphorus patients. Thus, this predictive tool, which any non-homeopath could apply, was found to accurately pick out Phosphorous patients without also including those that did not need Phosphorous. For example, when looking at patients who responded well to the remedies Pulsatilla, Sulphur, Phosphoric acid, or Lac caninum, none scored high enough to qualify.


In other words, what we saw in this small observational trial is that we can pick a remedy that helps shorten ILI, that there is one predominant remedy during an epidemic, and that we can develop a tool that will help a non-homeopath pick that same remedy in those who would respond to it, all of which are important steps in moving a larger public health methodology forward.


What follows is the 2007-2008 Flu Questionnaire we developed that formed the principal tool for inclusion in the observational study described above. Note that it is a simple document, though the one developed for this year is more complicated and longer.  Realize that making a tool such as this that is actually accurate and precise and real is no small feat. Its simplicity or elegance is a reflection of hard work to get us to the sum number of symptoms that will lead to one remedy at a point in time.  Note also that one does not have to be a homeopath to have known if the patient needed Phosphorus or did not need it, based on the use of this tool.  With enough resources, a form like this with accuracy and the ability for relatively wide applicability, can be developed and utilized in order to help millions. The questionnaire that follows ties together many of the first steps needed to reach that goal.


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