Georg Ivanovas From Autism to Humanism - systems theory in medicine

5.5 Homeopathy

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d) other miasms and endophenotypes

Modern concepts of atopic disease and the homeopathic understanding of chronic disease correspond in most points. Atopic disease and psora are partly inherited, begin early in life, have a progressive component difficult to be influenced and early infections play a role.

After Hahnemann, homeopaths added tuberculosis and cancer to the list of chronic diseases. Infections as the cause of cancer is discussed from time to time, but the wider concept of an impaired immune reaction leading to cancer seems to fit better. The relation of tuberculosis to chronic disease is somehow more difficult. As the immunity against tuberculosis is reciprocally related to asthma (Shirakawa et al 1997) there must be a connection. It might be defined as a long term impact onto the function of the immune system in general.

Homeopathy maintains an even broader context for chronic diseases. It claims that the miasms (syphilis, psora/atopic disease, cancer, gonorrhoea and tuberculosis) have a strong impact on the following generations. This is generally acknowledged for the atopic disease. But in the homeopathic view also the tuberculosis of the parents or grandparents is said to be connected with the prevalence of asthma in the offspring. The same relation is held true for the relation between syphilis in the ancestors and tissue destruction in the offspring, with cancer and depression, to name just a few. That is, homeopathy has always claimed that an acquired disease (or an immunological imbalance as we would say today) might lead to a specific predispositions in the following generations.

There is lately some evidence for such claims. In cancer epigenetical factors might play a role (Feinberg et al. 2006). There are even first concepts assuming a relation between a disease of the ancestors and the following generations. One is the concept of endophenotypes (Kennedy et al 2003). It says that a trait

  • is associated with the disease in the population,
  • is heritable,
  • is not state dependent (i.e., it is present even when illness is not floridly symptomatic,
  • conseggregates with the illness within the families,
  • is found in not affected family members at a higher rate than in the general population.

The homeopathic model of miasms claims that endophenotypes might be induced by infections.

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