The Lancet’s 2005 Shang et al study shown yet again to be methodologically faulted.
Hahn, a Swedish anesthesiologist and researcher of 30 years experience, who has never studied or practised homeopathy, recently published a new critique of three of the main meta-analyses of homeopathy that are usually cited as not being supportive of a therapeutic effect beyond placebo. Hahn details the Linde (1997), Cucherat (2000) and Shang (2005) analyses, highlighting their flaws and weaknesses.
The Shang et al study, which has been used endlessly by homeopathy’s critics to support their flawed cases, has already been shown by other critics to be deeply faulted. (Ludtke R, Rutten AL: The conclusions on the effectiveness of homeopathy highly depend on the set of analyzed trials. J Clin Epidemiol 2008;61:1197–1204.)
Hahn concludes: Clinical trials of homeopathic remedies show that they are most often superior to placebo. Researchers claiming the opposite rely on extensive invalidation of studies, adoption of virtual data, or on inappropriate statistical methods. Further work with meta-analyses should abandon the concept of summarizing all available clinical trials and focus on the effects of homeopathy versus placebo or other treatments in specific diseases or groups of diseases. One way to reduce future emotional- driven distortion of evidence by investigators and skeptics would be to separate the evidence-seeking process from the formulation of clinical guidelines more clearly.
For the abstract and to obtain a full copy of the article go here: http://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/355916
Reference: Hahn, R.G., 2013. Homeopathy: Meta-Analyses of Pooled Clinical Data. Forshende Komplementarmedizin; 20(5):376-381