24 scientists from 8 countries will share homeopathy research with you

Global Homeopathy Foundation is organizing the World Homeopathy Summit on Recent Advances in Scientific Research on 11-12 April 2015 in Mumbai. Dr Rajesh Shah, MD, the organizing secretary, who is also a practitioner, researcher, and teacher, speaks his mind about the international conference, which will have about 24 speakers from 8 countries, coming together for the first time ever in India. Dr Shah emphasizes that homeopathy will not survive without research.

01 Congratulations on the formation of Global Homoeopathy Foundation. Can you give an insight into forming the foundation, its objectives, and goals?

Dr Rajesh Shah: Thank you, Dr Gouri.

Global Homeopathy Foundation (GHF) is formed by a few of the senior homeopaths, whom I would call homeopathy activists willing to contribute to the profession, give something back to the profession. GHF is a non-political, non-government, non-profit making entity simply working for the elevation of the profession. The major focus of GHF would be to support the growth in the areas of education, research, and promotion of homeopathy.

02 Within a few months of forming the foundation, it is indeed a herculean effort to organize an international conference of this stature. Congratulations on being the Organizing Secretary of the conference too. How is it shaping up?

Dr Rajesh Shah: Thanks for the compliments. Yes, the World Homeopathy Summit (WHS) is getting organized in a slight hurry. Actually, we wanted to focus on the most burning and basic issues. Through brainstorming sessions within our group, we collectively identified the need to 1. Boost the confidence of the homeopaths and students 2. Highlight the importance of scientific research for the growth of homeopathy, and 3. Improve media perception about the scientific side of homeopathy. We also realized that there was significant research conducted in many parts of the world, including India. However, there is a disconnect between scientific work and the homeopath’s orientation.

The WHS is a step towards filling up the gap. The WHS is expected to serve several purposes such as showcasing to the homeopaths the outcome of research in different areas, motivating them to have a scientific approach, encouraging the younger generation to get involved in research, heighten the conviction of homeopaths about the science of homeopathy, motivate other scientists to conduct more research, spread positive message about homeopathy through media.

It is about a month (10th December) since we started the preparation. Yes, it is going great!

03 In a short span of time, how do you propose to reach out to over 1000 delegates?

Dr Rajesh Shah: Well, at GHF we believe in saving paper and saving ecology. We have decided not to waste much paper in the form of brochures. We shall use electronic media, the Internet, and mobile media. It is amazing that in seven days' time, there are 36 Whatsapp groups discussing the event! Anyone can join the Whatsapp group by sending us a message to any of the groups or to +91.9930790804. Through this channel, we intend to keep updating those interested in research in homeopathy.

04 Who is all coming to the Summit and how did you manage to get speakers from diverse fields?

Dr Rajesh Shah: As you must have seen on the GHF website (www.globalhomeopathyfoundation.com) and in our communications, about 24 scientist-speakers from eight countries, including India, have agreed to come to share their research work. It was a task to identify them and bring them together. Interestingly, the speakers are from distinct areas such as molecular biology, pharmacology, chemical engineering, physics, nuclear medicine, and homeopathy. They have done fundamental research examining homeopathy from different angles, which is very interesting.

We have Prof Paulo Bellavita from Italy who will talk about his work on the effects of medicines invoking sensitivity to bio-electromagnetic information, the participation of water chains in signaling, and regulation of bifurcation points of systemic networks. Prof. Sathaye will talk about the anti-inflammatory effects of homeopathy in the animal model. Dana Ullman of the USA will talk about evidence-based experiments in the treatment of allergies. Prof. Michael Frass from Austria will share his experience in cancer treatment with homeopathy supported by controlled studies. Likewise, Prof Gustav Bracho from Cuba, who is famous for his work in the treatment of Leptospirosis will share a new perspective. Dr Prashanth Banerjee will talk about cancer cell line study. Similarly, Dr Joshi from TIFR, Dr Bellare from IIT-B, Dr Jindal from BARC, etc. will give a newer perspective to homeopathy. There are over 20 such papers, a power-packed event!

I must say that the speakers and the topics are really diverse; which will enlighten the delegates to have a completely novel perspective about homeopathy.

05 Homeopathy has always faced challenges and what are the issues you would like to address at this conference?

Dr Rajesh Shah: Homeopathy is one of the youngest sciences. Unfortunately, due to inadequate research, it has attracted criticism. Criticism is due to us! Using this conference as a forum, we would like to educate the homeopaths about the recent scientific updates and convey the message to the public about the scope of homeopathy as scientific medicine.

Some of the speakers will share their research proving the effects of high-dilution medicines in various models such as cell-line, animal model as well as human trials.

06 As far as homeopathic education is concerned there is a gap and lack of professional approach. In such a scenario, how do we expect our science to grow? Do you feel this conference has a suggestion to make in this regard? Dr Rajesh Shah: This is a big subject. I personally believe, that, the faculty in each college should have a strong scientific basis so that the students could be trained accordingly. The GHF’s contribution through this conference would be an attempt to sensitize the practitioners, teachers, and students to bring a shift in their thought process.

07 It may not be to our liking but homeopathy is still concerned unscientific through major countries. We need research not just from the clinicians but also from pure sciences. Would the conference share the platform for these ideas?

Dr Rajesh Shah: This is due to a lack of research. The WHS will have scientists from pure sciences, as I said earlier, sharing their research in homeopathy, expanding the horizon for scientific understanding. To give you an example, we have scientists from IIT-Bombay, BARC (Bhabha Atomic Research Center), ICT (Institute of Chemical Technology), TIFR (Tata Institute of Fundamental Research), Haffkine institute, Bose institute, etc. who have done research in homeopathy. They are not homeopaths, but scientists, sharing a common platform.

08 The best part of homeopathy is that there are several ways to arrive at a prescription. Would WHS be a platform for one or more of such protocols?

Dr Rajesh Shah: WHS is not proposing any treatment protocol. The role of WHS and GHF is to encourage and promote the growth of homeopathy. At this point, the focus is to create a scientific spirit among homeopaths and students.

09 What do you want the students, clinicians, academicians, researchers, the pharmaceutical industry, and the thinkers of homeopathy to take from the conference?

Dr Rajesh Shah: There are distinct messages for each of them. The students will go home with a science-torch to review each aspect of homeopathy; they will benefit immensely. The clinicians will have heightened confidence in managing a range of diseases, with evolved thought process. They will be able to win the confidence of patients more than ever before. They will learn about some newly developed medicines and their application in practice. The researchers will have new modalities to consider and apply their knowledge and skill in homeopathy research. The pharmaceutical people will learn clues about new drug-discovery methods, which will also motivate them to allocate funds for research. And, the policymakers will identify the need to modify certain systems and processes.

10 There have been regular international conferences through other fora but the usual criticism is that nothing is done afterward. How different is WHS going to be?

Dr Rajesh Shah: The conference is just a platform for sharing. The conference cannot do the follow-up. Homeopathic organizations or institutes have to design suitable programs.

11 More often than not our allopathic brethren are supportive of our system but not very aware of the science. Would there be an effort to associate open-minded specialists as invitees at the summit?

Dr Rajesh Shah: We are going to invite several conventional doctors who are open to learning about recent developments in homeopathic research. Through this interview, I invite doctors from all specialties to attend the conference. IN fact, this conference is open to anyone with an open mind to explore homeopathy.

12 What are the likely innovations at the summit that would enhance the confidence of the common man with regard to homeopathy?

Dr Rajesh Shah: In fact, several. For the common man, the WHS will send a clear message that the use of homeopathy has been proved in in-vitro and in-vivo models. The clinical trials in a controlled environment have shown the efficacy of homeopathy. It will also hint that the nature of homeopathic medicine is comprising of nano-particles, which could be evaluated using certain gadgets, laser beams, and have definite effects even in animal models. The common man will feel assured that there is research happening in homeopathy; which will help win his confidence.

13 The CCH, CCRH are the bodies that have under their purview the maximum number of homeopathic hospitals, dispensaries, colleges, practitioners on their rolls. Their potential is immense for the turnaround of homeopathy. What would the summit advise to them?

Dr Rajesh Shah: The WHS has technical collaboration with CCRH. The message likely to emerge from WHS could be that CCH should especially encourage scientific research in every college, train the faculties to take up research projects, and engage students in the development of homeopathy. India has an unbelievable perspective for the growth of homeopathy as it has over 180 homeopathic colleges, provided the potential is strategically exploited. The message is very clear, that, homeopathy will not survive without research.

Nowhere in the world, you will find such an institution with such a large infrastructure and government support which CCRH enjoys. Also, there is a need for well-defined protocols for research in homeopathy in India. CCRH under AYUSH should have easy to follow methods for new drug discovery, which is lacking at this point. There have been some welcome changes that happened at CCRH, for example, peer-reviewed journal IJRH. Suitable reforms and policies will be required to be made, which, I am confident that CCRH will work upon in due course. Encouraging and nourishing research by homeopaths and students must be encouraged, in my opinion.

Note: Please visit www.GlobalHomeopathyFoundation.com or send SMS to +91.99307 90804 for more information about every speaker and their topics.

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