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article imageSwedish astronaut survives homeopathy challenge

By Martin Laine     Jul 8, 2011 in Health
In the latest of a series of high-profile challenges to the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies, Swedish astronaut Christer Fuglesang took an overdose of homeopathic sleeping pills and lived to tell about it.
“I feel just fine,” Fugelsang said after the experience, as reported in The Local. “I guess I feel neither better nor worse than just before taking this overdose.”
Fuglesang, 55, is a physicist and an astronaut in the European Space Agency, and has flown on two space shuttle missions. He is also a member of Foreningen Vetenskap och Folkbildning (Science and Popular Enlightenment), an organization of skeptics dedicated to exposing false claims and pseudoscience.
Thursday afternoon Fuglesang and nine other members of the organization ingested ten times the regular amount of coffea alpfaplex, a homeopathic sleeping pill. None showed any ill effects – sleepy or otherwise – from the experience.
Homeopathy is a controversial form of alternative medicine, based on the belief that many ailments and conditions can be successfully remedied by using highly-diluted amounts of a cure known to cause symptoms similar to what the patient is suffering.
The approach is common in Sweden, with some clinics offering homeopathic treatments as a choice alongside other, more mainstream, therapies. Skeptics challenge the approach, saying there is no scientific basis for its claims.
They say at best their results are no better than a placebo, and at worst, can cause real harm to the patient.
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