The University of Toronto is currently conducting a study on Homeopathy and ADHD in Children and Adolescents (http://www.pharmacy.utoronto.ca/research/homeopathy-adhd). Recently, our Administrative Director and Registrar, Andrea Deal, interviewed the Study Coordinator, Homeopath, David Brulé.
Hi, David! Thanks very much for taking the time to answer a few questions about the exciting work you've been doing. How did you become interested in treating children homeopathically for ADHD?
I think I have been interested in treating ADHD since the beginning of my homeopathic training.
We have some ADHD in the family and I was exposed to some good cases early on. I have always felt comfortable with ADHD kids clinically and am fascinated by how homeopathy can help these children.
How did you come to be the Coordinator for the study you are currently working on?
Aside from my clinical practice, I have always been interested in doing research in the field of homeopathy. I was fortunate enough to have some great mentors in both the homeopathy community as well as the research community who have helped direct me towards formulating good research questions to investigate clinical phenomenon.
This particular study has been 6+ years in the making. In collaboration with 2 homeopaths and researchers at University of Toronto and CAMH, we put together a protocol in 2008 to see if a larger study of the homeopathic treatment of ADHD was warranted and feasible. My role on that study was as study coordinator where I was part of the design, recruitment, data collection and presentation of the results. We conducted that study between 2010-2012 and have published those results.
Our data was encouraging and we were able to use that data to design the current study. We felt it was important to keep the same homeopathic clinical team (since our estimates for effect size was based on their treatment) and I had expertise from the previous study.
Why do you feel it is important for there to be randomized, double blind, placebo controlled studies of homeopathy?
This is a good question. I would say it is important to do all kinds of high quality research in homeopathic medicine. Randomized, double blind, placebo controlled (RCT) studies are one piece of what is a larger research agenda in the homeopathy research community.
That said, I am keenly interested in trying to tease apart the various elements which make up “homeopathic treatment”. These elements include consultation effects (including patient-practitioner empathy and patient self-efficacy and mastery), remedy effects, pure placebo effects, and other effects related to participating in a study.
I am also interested in optimizing “model validity” in clinical trials which means designing a study to (as much as possible) reflect normal or standard practice. These are some of the challenges in research design that the research community is grappling with. The past 20-30 of research in homeopathy has faced a lot of tough lessons in designing and conducting studies which can accurately test homeopathic treatments.
This is a work in progress and I think it is important to continue to use the RCT model since it is an excellent way to study some important clinical phenomenon.
I understand that you completed a pilot study that was published in September of this year (http://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/368137). What results did your team find in the pilot study?
The main results of this study are that over the course of 10 consultations 63% of the participants achieved a statistically significant reduction in their ADHD symptoms.
For the purposes of the follow up study, we found that it is feasible to recruit and retain participants for a lengthy study and that there were no serious adverse events related to the therapy. From the data collected we were able to figure out what size of a study is needed to test more definitive research questions.
Clinically, we found that it did not matter whether the kids were taking conventional medications or not – both groups had similar results. We thought this was an interesting finding.
What are your hopes for the current study you are working on?
My hopes for the current research study is that we will be able to recruit and retain enough participants in order to make some significant conclusions about the homeopathic treatment of ADHD, to point the way for future study in this area and to add to the literature of research study design in homeopathy.
Thank you again for your time, David, and all the great work you are doing for homeopathy!
Participants are needed for David's study of the Homeopathic treatment of ADHD in Children and Adolescents.The study is for children and adolescents ages 6-16 with a diagnosis of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. It is a 28 week study investigating the use homeopathic remedies in the treatment of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Children and youth not currently taking any medication or taking a stable dose of medication are eligible. The study is sponsored by the University of Toronto in collaboration with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
For more information see: https://www.facebook.com/homeopathyadhdstudy
or contact the study coordinator:
Ph. 647 378-8309
e-mail: [email protected]
CAMH REB#: 079-2013
Want to learn more? Please take a look at these links: http://www.pharmacy.utoronto.ca/research/homeopathy-adhd
David Brulé - Homeopath, Homeopathic Researcher
David is a founding member of the Riverdale Homeopathic Clinic and has been practicing homeopathy there since September of 1999. David has been involved in homeopathic clinical research having participated in funded projects studying the effects of homeopathy on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3373891/) and on the side effects of chemotherapy. He was the winner of the 2014 Ontario Homeopathic Association's Community Awareness & Excellence Award.
* Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici (freedigitalphotos.net)