This book review is reprinted with the permission of the American Institute of Homeopathy
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Theory of High Dilutions and Experimental Aspects
by Roland R. Conte, Henri Berliocchi, Yves Lasne, Gabriel Vernot
Paperback, 1996, 168 pages, $55
Reviewed by Jay Yasgur, R.Ph., M.Sc.
An interesting yet complex book has recently Appeared on the alternative medicine book shelf. Theory of High Dilutions and Experimental Aspects by four French experimentalists is an attempt to "introduce mathematical theories of real numbers-which have supplementary axioms, and (we) show that these axioms have physico-mathematical meaning linked to high dilution theory." This book does just that. One has to have a strong background in physics and higher math in order to comprehend this work, yet I managed to make sense of it and come away with some important insights. Most of those insights were received in Chapter 4, on which this review will concentrate. However, before I go on, what follows is a brief outline of the four main chapters which make up this beautifully produced volume.
Physico-Mathematical Model introduces the ZFS Theory, a complex amalgamation of mathematical formulae which is proposed "as a frame for modeling quantum theory and, in order to provide a theory interpreting the observed phenomena, we will show how high dilutions fit into this frame." Also discussed is semiotic mechanics, Contonian statistics, Girard's Algebra and the remanent wave.
The Link with experiments: the contonian approach introduces contonian statistics as a way to interpret energetic experiments carried out on dilutions. This chapter makes the mathematical case for contons and discusses Lagrangians, phase displacement, and the remanent wave also known as hyperprotons.
"The remanent wave is always created when a particle disappears and leaves what we have termed a 'white hole' in contradistinction to 'black holes' in which matter is super dense. This implies that at any Hahnemannian dilution level, below the Avogadro limit, remanent waves will be created and above this limit, the hyperprotons created will take over and will reorganize the structure of the diluent (chap. 5.4). Therefore, a diluted solution will contain some remanent waves the number of which is proportional to the number of particles having disappeared (or the space-time will contain some singularities) and the same succussed dilution will contain the same number of singularities in space-time but their effects will be enhanced by the succussion process." Theory of...(p. 30-31)
Mechanism of the high dilution effect on organism covers a broad range of ideas. Some of the more astounding and notable ideas include, pour votre amusement.
"Under the hyperproton concept such as defined, which is a consequence of white hole creation, understanding the mechanism of the life process is considerably improved. The similarity between high dilution and living organism behaviours opens the field for new investigations. The hyperproton is the missing link whereby chemistry becomes biochemistry." Theory of... (p. 154)
"The remanent wave influences the environmental medium as a stone related induces circular waves in water. When one continues the release at the same place and in a regularly spaced way, the wave amplitude increases (waves are in phase). Contrawise, releasing stones anywhere or in an irregular way in space leads to an opposed and even to annihilation of the waves (waves are in phase opposition). In both cases, when no further stones are released, the wave phenomenon disappears within a certain time and the wave energy is released in the water as heat." Theory of ... (p. 152)
"Some genetic illnesses are linked not to the type of the chemical DNA components but to the number of times the same structure is repeated in the DNA chain. This structural repetition increases the receiver antenna length and, in so doing, modifies the reception (illness seems to appear beyond 200 repetitions).
"The wave interaction between the medium, in the wide meaning of the word (food, 'stress,' individual ...) and the genetic structure, leads, according to their frequencies, repetitions and energies, to modifications of the DNA antenna.
"Should a resonance occur, the DNA chain will be broken. In the case of in phase interference, the amplitude will be enhanced (in proportion to the sum of the two amplitudes) and, therefore, a separation of the two DNA helixes will occur. In the case of phase opposition interference, the receiving zone will be blocked and, therefore, there will be no interaction.
"At the population level, species evolution will depend on wave repetition and energy repetition in the frequency zone we have calculated. Adaptation or not therefore must not be considered as an absolute state but as relative within space-time.
"Therapeutics using diluted-succussed solutions, is without any doubt the hope of that form of medicine which is non-reductionist and this therapy will be the first to benefit by these discoveries." Theory of... (154,5)
"The finding that the diluted-succussed thyroxine has an inhibiting effect on the larvae metamorphosis leads to the following conclusion: For the same dilution level, high dilutions induce different effects in the organism depending on whether they are succussed or not. This difference in the resulting effects is clearly measured in the weighable zone, meaning within Avogadro's limits.
"This specific effect confirms the physico-mathematical model and the phase interactions. Such a difference in the properties of diluted-only and diluted-succussed dilutions is similar to the differences between the NMR measurements of nitric acid analyzed in Section 184.108.40.206." Theory of... (134,5)
This last quote relates to the experiment which investigated the influence of succussed-dilutions of thyroxine upon the metamorphosis of larvae of the grass frog (Rana temporaria) from the two-legged stage (rear legs) to the four-legged stage (rear and forelegs), a most complex and seminal experiment.
Impact of environmental (experimental) factors on the remanent wave, the last chapter I'll review, was the most interesting to this reviewer and the one which I'll now delve into.
This chapter is divided into a splendid array of topics:
* influence of the quantity of energy introduced by the succussion process
* experimental verification of the influence of accumulated energy
* effect on different succussion processes
* comparison between three main processes (dilution/Hahnemann/Korsakoff)
* effect of light
* effect of heat on the relaxation time T2
* effect of ultra-sound exposure
* effect of magnetic fields
* effect of molecular weight of the molecule diluted
* effect of gravitation
* growth of Hungarian wheat according to phases of the moon
* effects of HgCl2, on mice mortality according to month
In other words:
"...we examine the influence of various environmental parameters research workers will be faced with: energy introduced by the succussion, influence of the various types of succussion device, of the dilution process, of the atmospheric composition under which the solution is prepared, of photon, heat, ultrasound, magnetic and electromagnetic fields and gravitational forces." Theory of...(p. 67)
When the authors attempt to deal with the energy introduced by succussion, our eyes are opened to the variety of experimental variables which might otherwise have never been considered. For example, to create mathematical models the air within the vial or flask must be factored in and "...this system is taken as a whole and globally considered as being a solid that can be deformed." (The Theory ... p.68). Also, in their experimental work, succussion is carried out "...under adiabatic conditions, meaning no heat exchange with the environment." (The Theory... p.68). These are but two of the many, many aspects which the authors confront in this fascinating and detailed chapter, which by the way, contains over forty charts and graphs.
To give the reader some idea of the meticulous detail with which the authors pursued their experimental goals let me quote, verbatim, Section 4.2.3:
"4.2.3 Experimental verification of the influence of accumulated energy
"Experiments have been carried out on 10 cc nitric acid (HNO3) solutions, diluted from 1 to 30 CH each solution being stored in a 20 cc bottle. The mechanical succussion device was an horizontal one running with a 40 mm amplitude. Three succussion frequencies were selected for a same 10 sec duration of the succussion, leading to three distinct values for the energy introduced in the three experimental series.
"The induced effects have been verified through NMR measurements at 230 Mhz on the diluent (water in these experiments), the diluent succussed at 2.3 Hz as well as on three series of HNO3 solutions diluted from 1 to 30 CH, the succussion frequency being respectively equal to 2.3, 15.3 and 56.7 Hz.
"Figure 4 presents variation of the relaxation time T2 of the HNO3 solutions as a function of the dilution level (CH). The T2 spectrum, whilst typical, does not allow a clear understanding of the phenomenon.
"However .... calculation of the contonian lagrangian allows analysis of the experimental results. The lagrangian of water (lowest trace) is also presented on this graph. "The excellent linearity of the lagrangian is indicative of well controlled experimental parameters. The highest lagrangian corresponds to the lowest energy level introduced in the solution, the energy introduced by succussion carried out at 2.3 Hz frequency.
"The contonian frequencies calculated from the lagrangians are reproduced
"Variation of the contonian frequency ratio of water to the HNO3 solutions is represented ... as a function of the energy expressed in joules. Such presentation demonstrates the decrease of the succussion effect with increasing energy introduced in the system. For a 10 gram mass, the introduced energies are as follows: 0.01557 Joules for the 2.3 Hz frequency, 4.584 Joules for the 15.3 Hz frequency and 233.3 Joules for the 56.7 Hz frequency. The extrapolation of these results indicates that the effects induced by the succussion disappear when the level of the introduced energy is around 5 million joules, that is 500,000joules/gram of water and corresponds to an energy of 2160 Kca Vmole.
"This theoretical value, in association with a zero thermal exchange, is unrealistic in consideration of energy levels. The value is 10 times higher than the dissociation energy of the covalent bonds at around 240 Kcal/mole (10z joules/mole), this value being 1000 times higher than the energy of the hydrogen bond itself whose value is around 0.24 Kcal/mole.
"Figure 6 shows that the extrapolation of the contonian frequency ratio does not only tend toward the energetic level of the hydrogen bond but towards the very high energetic level within the range of the dissociation energy level of covalent bonding. This observation allows consideration of an hypothesis, that all the protons of the medium are concerned in the succussion process and not only the proton of the hydrogen of water. Such an hypothesis is consistent with the 170 relaxation time T2 measurements which are indicative of an effect of the succussion process on 17O (chapter 3.3.6). In addition, such an hypothesis allows an understanding as to why succussion effects are also measurable in an alcoholic solution." Theory of .. (p. 72-5)
From Section 4.2 the authors reach the following conclusions: that the amount of energy transferred to the liquid is low and limited except when frequency of shaking is greatly increased. This, however, is not necessarily good because the authors have found that with an increase in temperature the succussion process is compromised. To this end, to achieve the most effective succussion, a potentizing device with a long movement and a low frequency (300 mm and 5 Hz) is ideal and that mechanical succussion is more suitable than manual methods.
Also in this chapter, the authors resurrect some of the work done by famed German experimentalist L. Kolisko. During the forty year period from 1920 to 1960 this inventive scientist conducted a vast number of experiments which tried to elucidate phenomena responsible for anomalous results he obtained in his experiments with subtle energies (dilutions, gravitation, sun/moon phases, etc). Experiments which dealt with the relationship of the growth in size of wheat ears to the phases of the moon, the evolution of white mice weight as influenced by three entities in potency -silver nitrate, copper sulfate, and Uspulum (C2H5CIHgO2) and J. Cambar's experiments on the "effects of HgCl2 on mice mortality according to month" are covered in this chapter.
This is but a small sampling of interesting material from this 60 page chapter of which the authors' goal is to study the effects of a variety of factors on the succussion process.
"The aim of these studies is to quantify the effects due to external factors, in order to derive construction rules for an ideal succussion device allowing maximal effect of the last solution." Theory of .. (p. 78)
In the final chapter, Epistemological Aspects, the authors consider philosophical impacts of their researches on Hahnemann's Organon, and on the questions of memory, and logos and the cosmos.
"Samuel Hahnemann had an ambivalent opinion towards mathematics mentioned twice in his Organon: first, in writing that no mathematical theory will be able to account for the action of high dilution and then when writing that 'his doctrine' (word used by the translator of the French Edition) could become a science as rigorous as mathematics.
"What can be said about these opinions in the light of current knowledge?
"First, as we have already shown, Hahnemann's 'dynamic principle hidden' in high dilutions can be entirely validated using physical measurements (NMR, Beta radiation emission ... ) and be mathematically interpreted within the ZFS theory that leads back to the ZFI theory (see Chapter 2)." Theory of...(p. 158)
The authors end their book ...
"...by positioning our work in the perspective on the nature of reality that is dualist but not 'frozen'. For Democritus and Epicurus, the cosmos was made of atoms moving in the vacuum leading to a double nature: one discrete and the other continuous. Physics has re-discovered this double nature in the 'wave particle'duality of quantum mechanics." Theory of... (p. 161)
"This duality appears when considering the double nature of matter; both informational and massive.
"We have now demonstrated that high dilution activity can be observed and measured by apparatus normally used for physical measurements (NMR, counter .... ) and can also be interpreted in wave terms at the microscopic as well as the infinitesimal level, through contonian appearance theory.
"Nevertheless, we offer a conceptual framework as well as mathematical tools and practices that allow prediction and interpretation of high dilution phenomena. Of course, we hope sceptical readers will be able to repeat and interpret the experiments supporting our work, the reproducibility of these experiences having ben verified." Theory of ... (p. 162)
As I've already mentioned this book is very well produced: itself a tribute to the authors. There are countless charts and colored graphs all done on a semi-gloss coated paper. This book is sewn and wrapped, meaning the signatures are held together not with just glue, but with thread woven into the binding - an excellent idea since this book is destined to be referenced again and again.
The authors do not discuss the "ice theory"1,2 which is currently creating excitement within the homeopathic community. Here it is theorized that lattic patterns are formed in the solvent mixture as a direct result of the diluting and succussing steps. When taken into the body, these patterns stimulate similar patterns (waves?) within the organism to effect change.
It is my feeling that the work of both these parties is mutually supportive. Perhaps further papers or a monograph will be written blending these theories.
As a brief aside, the authors used an autoradiographic technique to visualize "...Beta radiation emitted by granules impregnated with diluted-succussed Potassium Iodine 2 CH. As a control, non-impregnated granules were tested in parallel on another film of the same type using the same exposure duration, the two films being separated to avoid any potential interference. No black spots were detected on the control film. Complementary experiments are presently in progress." Theory of .. (p. 137)
The translation edition (I am of course reviewing the English edition) is above average. Meanings are well conveyed, and I experienced little ambiguity in the text. Since this book is so "physical and mathematical," I would have liked to have seen a glossary included. I do not purport to have the working knowledge to comprehend the models proposed in this tome so a glossary or appendix defining contonian, Girard's algebra, semiotic mechanics, etc. would have been much appreciated. Although this book has no index, its lack does little damage to its usability. These minor flaws aside, R.R. Conte, H. Berliocchi, Y. Lasne and G. Vernot are to be lauded for their massive efforts and their talented approach to this vastly complex field now in its infancy. This well-done volume has amazed and inspired me, and continues to do so whenever I pick it up.
1) Shui-Ym Lo, Angelo Lo, Li Wen Chong, Lin Tianzhang, Li Hui Hua, Xu Geng, 'Physical Properties of Water with IE Structures', Modern Physics Letters B, 10:19, P. 921-930, (1996).
2) Shui-YmLo, 'Anomalous Stateoflce', Modern Physics Letters B, 10: 19, p. 909-919, (1996).
About the Author.- Jay Yasgur is a pharmacist, author and member of the HPCUS (Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia Convention of the United States). He is the author of A Dictionary of Homeopathic Medical Terminology, 3rd Ed. He republished and edited two homeopathic classics: Some Clinical Experiences of E. E. Case, M.D., and Homoeopathic Materia Medica for Nurses, 2nd Ed. Along with Mr. C. Ellithorp, they produced 'The Dunham Lectures of J. T Kent'. Mr. Yasgur recently finished a three year project, Cumulative Index to the Homoeopathic Physician.
Jay has worked for Weleda Inc. and Humphreys Pharmacal Aside from writing, Mr. Yasgur works part time in retail pharmacy where he blends homeopathy into his pharmacy practice. He lives in Tempe, AZ.
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