This much anticipated seminar took place at the home of The Royal Society of Medicine in Wimpole Street, London on 14th July 2018. It was apparently way over subscribed and a number were able to attend both the dinner at the House of Lords on Friday the 13th July and the seminar itself on the Saturday. There was a smart booklet containing the biographical details and career accomplishments given out at registration in a handy linen bag, with the conference title emblazoned across the front with a few samples of combination homeopathic medicines/ointments, a CPD certificate of participation and a free book, ‘Life is Meant for Losing’ with CD’s from Dr. Torako Yui Ph.D Hom, Author and President of the Japanese Homeopathic Medical Association and a VIP Guest, which also included Rachel Roberts and Alexander L. Tournier of the Homeopathic Research Institute, Dana Ullman, Lionel Milgrom, High Commissioners Mr. Y.K. Sinha, of India and George Brandis QC, of Australia among others.
What was missing for the participants, to my mind, were details, e.g. a running order and/or a summary of the actual presentations being discussed during the day, of which there were at least half a dozen and only a sample of which I’ll discuss. An abstract for each of those presentations would have been helpful for reference at the time and subsequently; mostly because each presentation seemed to be coming to similar conclusions, albeit from various scientific perspectives and experiments.
That it was the case that they all to a greater or lesser degree confirmed each others’ work regarding the possibility of the effects of water, is great for homeopathy but makes it harder to explain if you don’t have the information to clearly distinguish those different approaches or to follow up on the research.
My review article then is based on my notes from attendance at the presentations on the Saturday and some literature research carried out since. Don’t expect too much in the way of scientifically accurate explanations of experimental protocols and conclusions but rather a brief outline of experiments and results from the main presentations and a discussion of their relevance, if applicable, to evidence for the system of homeopathy.
There was definitely an air of excitement throughout the day of good things to come that could help move the system of homeopathy, in the UK at least, and hopefully around the world to an acceptable health model, rather than its usual dismissal as being quackery or placebo effect. Much of this thrill of acceptance came from the presence of the main presenter of the day, Professor Luc Montagnier. How could anyone in the scientific community ignore the successful experiments of such an eminent Nobel Prize Winner in Medicine (2008) as this? And he wasn’t the only Nobel Laureate presenting.
Professor Brian D. Josephson, Nobel Laureate in Physics (1973), gave the first presentation, which can be listened to at this link:
He described his presence at the conference when French immunologist Jacques Benveniste first proposed what has become known (apparently from a journalistic sound-bite) as the concept of the ‘Memory of Water’, and has been a supporter ever since. In fact he has commented that: ‘the idea that water can have a memory can be readily dismissed on the basis of any number of easily understood invalid arguments.’
Though not mentioned, eminent Greek homeopath George Vithoulkas, was also present at that 1988 conference and who opposed Benveniste’s approach at that time and since for specific reasons. From a homeopathic perspective, they are reasons that cannot be as easily considered as ‘invalid arguments’. I’ll return to this important question later in the article.
Professor Josephson outlined the history of the idea of molecular signalling and its criticisms, those being:
- No molecules, no effect
- Time scales in H2O too short
- If water had memory it would remember everything equalling confusion
In opposition to this he went on to cite the work of John Stewart Reid who carried out ‘memory of water’ tests using his Cymascope, which tracked the dynamic effects on water when exposed to music, and who concluded that molecular effects can be observed when cellular organisation is changed as the music changes. An interesting video of the effects recorded by the cymascope and playing the Moonlight Sonata was shown that demonstrated this.
Professor Josephson commented that: ‘physics is hampered by its quantitative approach which is okay for matter but not for mind and meaning.’ And that this kind of complexity doesn’t go well together with mathematics. He gave examples of other theories to explain levels of complexity e.g. Bohm’s Implicate Order, Pierce’s Sign Theory or bio semiotics, Hoffmeyer’s Semiome Code Duality and Yardley’s Oppositional Dynamics or Circular Theory which was explained as relating to Order, Disorder and Order-ing. Order is said to rise spontaneously while Order-ing is the creation part of nature and includes Disorder, (which requires Order-ing to be present). Using the skill of learning to speak (or mastering language) as a mode of semiotic scaffolding and an example of supported activity can illustrate that: Order is learning – Disorder is new learning, which when working together equates to a degree of stability and results in Order-ing. The process of appropriately putting together and taking apart was described as the fundamental scaffolding of (hidden) reality and that meaningful information can enforce structure where mind and matter are concerned.
Gerald Pollack, Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering and founding Editor-in-Chief of the journal WATER, was the next presenter, outlining his experiments on ‘The 4th Phase of Water’; beyond solid, liquid and vapour and proof of the existence of an Extension Zone or area of stiff crystalline water, known as the EZ phase. In his laboratory at the University of Washington he has, with his team, uncovered a fourth phase that is said to occur next to water loving (hydrophilic) surfaces. Being, to them, considered surprisingly extensive, it was described as being able to project out from surfaces by up to millions of molecular layers and said to exist almost everywhere throughout nature, including the human body. He explained that although the existence of a fourth phase may seem unexpected this should not be entirely so, because a century ago the physical chemist Sir William Hardy argued for the existence of a fourth phase, and many authors over the years have found evidence for some kind of “ordered” or “structured” phase of water.
Fresh experimental evidence was said to not only confirm the existence of such an ordered, liquid-crystalline phase, but also detail its properties. Doctor Pollack stated that those properties can explain everyday observations and answer questions ranging from why gelatin desserts hold their water to why teapots whistle. He outlined many surprising implications and potentially useful applications that the presence of the fourth phase also carries. He presented the phases as: Ice – EZ – Water – Vapour. But most importantly in the context of the seminar, in addition to the effects of catalysing ‘radiant energy’ that Dr. Pollack and his team have identified, he stated that remedies created using succussion and dilution can provide information to the Extension Zone,
Professor Vladimir Voeikov Ph. D. in Biophysics has, among other important research, worked closely in the areas of ultra-high dilution with the eminent scientist Alexander Ivanovich Konovalov and presented work completed by them and others on the ‘Effect of self organization and properties of aqueous disperse systems based on the moss peptide PpCLE2 in a low concentration range on the growth of Arabidopsis thaliana root’s’ and discussed their findings that indicated the presence of ambient electromagnetic energy fields using Potassium Phenosan in dilutions 10-7 considered to be not solutions, but Self-Organising Disperse systems.
Vladimir L. Voeikov commented on previous work outlined in his chapter ‘Biological significance of active oxygen-dependent processes in aqueous systems’ In ‘Water and the Cell’, 2006, where Professor Voeikov discusses Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, mentioning that he was probably the first to claim that ‘bioenergetics is but a special aspect of water chemistry’ and that ‘ water arranges an indivisible system with the structure elements (of a cell) making possible electronic excitations which otherwise are highly improbable… in structured water electronic excitation may be surprisingly long-living, and this may be of paramount importance for the biological energy transfer’ (Szent-Gyorgi, 1957). In the chapter Professor Voeikov states that: Energy may be characterized by quantity and by qualities (forms, levels, and orderliness). And that: ‘The highest level of energy relevant to further discussion is energy of electronic excitation (EEE). Levels of energy differ significantly in their density and ‘quality’ – the higher is the energy level, the more different types of work may be performed by the same quantity of energy and the higher is the efficiency of its utilization.’ The chapter outlines the details of methodology, results and other research carried out.
Professor Luc Montagnier, Nobel Laureate in Medicine (2008) gave the main presentation of the day entitled: ‘Informative Water Structures in Disease: from quantum physics to homeopathy.’
He outlined his work on the role of water in DNA detection by the presence of Polymer Chain Reactions and the discovery of a new property of DNA: the induction of electromagnetic waves in water dilutions.
This discovery, in particular, occurred when studying the strange behaviour of a small bacterium, a frequent companion of HIV, Mycoplasma pirum, and like HIV, was described as a lover of human lymphocytes. Starting with pure cultures of the bacterium on lymphocytes, the filtrates were sterile for the bacterium when cultured on a rich cellular medium. But they found that when the filtrate was incubated with human lymphocytes, (previously controlled for not being infected with the mycoplasma) he and his team regularly recovered the mycoplasma with all its characteristics. This raised the question: what kind of information was transmitted in the aqueous filtrate?
On further investigation they found a new property of M. pirum DNA: the emission of low frequency waves in some water dilutions of the filtrate, which soon extended to other bacterial and viral DNAs.
He described the apparatus used to detect the electromagnetic signals as a solenoid capturing the magnetic component of the waves produced by the DNA solution in a plastic tube converting the signals into electric current. The Professor explained that this current was then amplified and finally analysed on a laptop computer using specific software. Their conclusions were that:
1) They detected Ultra Low Frequency Electromagnetic Waves (ULF 500-3000 hertz) in certain dilutions of filtrates (100nm, 20 nm) from cultures of micro-organisms (virus, bacteria) from the plasma of humans infected with the same agents. The same results are obtained from their extracted DNA.
2) The electromagnetic signals (EMS) are not linearly correlated with the initial number of bacterial cells before their filtration. In one experiment they showed that the EMS were similar in a suspension of E. coli cells varying from 10- 9 down to 10. It was considered an all or none phenomenon.
3) EMS are only observed in some high water dilutions of the filtrates. For example, from 10-9 to 10-18 dilutions in some preparations of E. coli filtrates.
4) In the case of M. pirum, an isolated single gene (adhesin, previously cloned and sequenced) could induce the EMS (As the gene was cloned in two fragments, each of the isolated fragments was able to generate EMS, suggesting that a short DNA sequence was sufficient to induce the signals.)
5) Some bacteria are not producing EMS.
6) They extended their studies to viruses and could detect similar EMS from some exogenous retroviruses (HIV, FeLV) hepatitis viruses (HBV, HCV) influenza A (in vitro cultures)
In the case of bacteria, EMS were said to be produced by 100 nm filtrates and not by 20 nm filtrates, indicating that the size of the structures producing EMS is ranging between 20 and 100 nm. This justified the name of nanostructures.
Studies were highly suggestive that they were dealing with nanostructures made of water, with the technical conditions for EMS induction including:
– Filtration: 450/100 nm for bacterial DNA 450/20 nm for viral DNA
– High dilutions in water
– Mechanical agitation (Vortex) between each dilution
– Excitation by the electromagnetic background ELF, starting very low at 7Hz (prevented by μmetal absorption)
In reference to the use of mechanical agitation, Professor Montagnier mentioned research results set out previously, in Montagnier L, (2009) highlighting that:
“Each dilution is done in 1.5 mL Eppendorf plastic tubes, which are then tightly stoppered and strongly agitated on a Vortex apparatus for 15 seconds. This step has been found critical for the generation of signals” (ibidem, page 82)
Before Professor Montagnier went on to explore the explosion of some chronic diseases and the possible causes of these explosions e.g. Infectious agents, Chemicals, Alumina and Electromagnetic Fields (mobile phones/ wifi etc.) highlighting the importance of the increase in bacteria in the GI system and its possible influence on the increasing prevalence of e.g. Autism, from changes via the interaction of Gut/Blood/Brain – he confirmed the importance of ‘mechanical agitation’ to the investigated solutions by stating that, ‘Succussion is critical to read the DNA structure of water’, and that it transmits information from one dilution to the next.
Also concluded was that therefore, this is a resonance phenomenon. The stimulation by the electromagnetic background of very low frequency is essential. The background is either produced from natural sources: the Schumann resonances are starting at 7.83Hz or from human activities, the main source of which is electric power (50 – 60Hz or 16 2/3) and as Professor Montagnier has significantly pointed out, that it is unlikely a coincidence that DNA signalling is stimulated by 7Hz naturally occurring waves on earth and that waves produced by the human brain are also in the range of 7Hz.
My understanding of these presentations with respect to homeopathy, is that what is being illustrated by the myriad of experiments (many of which I’ve subsequently discovered in my research for this article) carried out on the nature of water is the fact that its structure is changed and can be observed in both biological processes and by adding various substances or by application, using several appropriate methods.
I suppose to believe/accept that now, more than the previously doubted claim, that diluted and succussed homeopathic preparations can have any effect on dysfunctional or destructive biomedical processes in the human body, the mainly in the past reductionist school of science has needed proof that the fundamental medium of the homeopathic solution, being water, is much more important than was previously considered.
According to homeopathic principles, only if a high potency of a remedy fits the totality of the symptoms of a patient, will the remedy eliminate those symptoms. The effectiveness of the remedies comes only if the solution is potentised (succussed) in serial potentiations. It is only the potentisation of the water that transforms the constituency of the water so as to attain the biological effect that the remedy has upon living organisms.
The question as to whether the results presented were evidence for how homeopathy works will be more relevant when these methods and experiments are carried out on actual homeopathic preparations diluted and succussed with the source substances of remedies themselves. That would seem to me to be a next logical step and why didn’t these experiments start there? But they did, you say. For didn’t Jacques Benveniste’s first controversial experiment claim to have shown in an in vitro experiment that highly dilute potencies of bee poison (apis mellifica), even beyond the Avogadro number, are capable of producing structural changes in living organisms in the same way that the real poison from the bee can bring these changes about, being the actual degranulation of basophils?
For the purposes of debate, I think it important to include mention of highly respected Master Homeopath George Vithoulkas’ position on the ‘memory of water’ concept and its relevance or not, to homeopathy. George Vithoulkas’ objection lies in Benveniste’s claim that ‘such a dilution can also cause structural changes in the organism, similar to the ones caused by the actual poison; namely, the degranulation of basophils.’
In 1988, Temple University of Philadelphia organised a meeting of scientists on the Bermuda Islands to conduct an open discussion on issues that pertained to the Borders of Science. Delegates were highly reputed professors and also Nobel Prize laureates like Professor Brian D. Josephson. Benveniste was invited to the meeting, as well as George Vithoulkas, apparently the only homeopath present, who after Benveniste completed his presentations, objected strongly to his findings on the grounds that they contradicted the basic principles of homeopathy, a criticism reportedly not well received by Benveniste. In his article on the subject George Vithoulkas adds that, ‘According to these principles, a highly diluted and potentised substance will have an action opposite to its action in its undiluted state. To use Benveniste’s model, the highly diluted antigen, would be expected to suppress basophil degranulation, rather than cause such a degranulation.’ (George Vithoulkas, 2017)
The issue in the media after this and other observed experiments, and a further televised failed experiment, became about whether water did or did not have memory and if water did not have memory, then homeopathy was a false methodology. Since these experiments had negative results, Homeopathy has sustained much more criticism despite the false premise on which Benveniste’s and many other experiments (E.g. RCT’s using one remedy for many people suffering one condition) are usually based, i.e. not respecting the fundamental principles on which we practise the healing modality in which we’ve trained. We are therefore unlikely to make any great strides forward in unequivocal acceptance of homeopathy as a valid healing modality.
Encouraging for homeopathic acceptance is the increasing number of experiments acknowledging the necessity of the application of ‘mechanical agitation’ to affect specific changes in the structure of any solution and its potential resultant effects when applied in practical biomedical and other areas.
Here the fundamental homeopathic principle of ‘bio resonance ‘or ‘like cures like’ must, as Vithoulkas postulates, be brought to the fore. It is a basic principle in homeopathy that in order to have an effect with a highly diluted and potentised remedy, such a remedy must fit the totality of the symptoms of the patient. Ours is a highly individualized therapy. For example, what in Benveniste’s experiment were the matching/resonating “symptoms of the cells” (George Vithoulkas, 2017) in order that the remedy could have shown any effect? This individualising factor that we as homeopaths are intrinsically guided by cannot be forgotten or sidelined.
A paraphrasal of what George Vithoulkas proposes as a much more meaningful and useful concept, would be to test whether, after a process of serial dilutions and potentiations of a substance while creating the remedy, it can be shown that the water becomes ‘biologically active’ and (humbly proposed by me) if/how the water structure is altered in relation to the substance potentised.
Since this aspect of Homeopathy was not considered in the experiments of Benveniste or those presented at the sub-titled ‘Evidence for Homeopathy ‘ seminar, we cannot say that evidence for how homeopathy works was tested or proved. I think that the production/presence of EMS having been discovered in DNA does help us move towards creating homeopathically focused measurements of any effects, if carried out within accurate homeopathic parameters
But I agree with Professor Vithoulkas that: ‘…whether water has memory or not is not the issue; what is important to understand is why a highly potentised remedy has a biological effect on a sick organism.’
So the quote on the inside front page of the Seminar booklet: ‘Aim not for what is but for what could be’, is misleading.
Rather: Aim to understand what is; before what could be, is possible.
Pollack, Gerald, The Fourth Phase of Water: Beyond Solid, Liquid, and Vapor; Pg.14 / EDGESCIENCE #16 • NOVEMBER 2013
Kovonolov A.I. et al, ‘Effect of self organization and properties of aqueous disperse systems based on the moss peptide PpCLE2 in a low concentration range on the growth of Arabidopsis thaliana root’s.’ Russian Chemical Bulletin, International Edition, Vol. 66, No.9, pp. 1699—1705, September, 2017
Voeikov. V. ‘Biological significance of active oxygen-dependent processes in aqueous systems’ In ‘Water and the Cell.’ (G. Pollack, I. Cameron and D. Wheatley, eds.), pages 285–298. Springer Press Netherlands, 2006,
Szent-Gyorgi A (1957) Bioenergetics Academic Press. New York [Back translation from a Russian edition of the book: GIZ Fiz-Mat.Literature, Moscow, 1960, pp 54–56]
Montagnier L, et al. Electromagnetic Signals Are Produced by Aqueous Nanostructures Derived from Bacterial DNA Sequences. Interdiscip Sci Comput Life Sci (2009) 1: 81–90
Vithoulkas G. The Controversy Over the “Memory of Water” Med Sci Hypotheses, 2017; 4: 1-6