Objectives: To characterize initial central nervous system responses to olfactory administration of homeopathic remedies as biomarkers for subsequently exceptional, simillimum-like clinical outcomes at a systemic level (i.e., both locally and globally). Design: Double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Setting: A private homeopathic clinic in Phoenix, AZ, and a university laboratory in Tucson, AZ. Patients: Sixty-two (62) persons with physician-confirmed fibromyalgia (FM) (mean age, 49 years; 94% women) enrolled; 53 completed the 3-month assessment visit. Exceptional responders (n = 6, 23% of active treatment group; none on placebo) were those with improvements in the top one-third for both tender point pain and global health ratings after 3 months. Intervention: Patients took daily oral doses of treatment solution in LM (1/50,000 dilution) potency (active group received individualized remedy; placebo group received plain solvent). Dependent measures: Baseline and 3-month difference scores for initial prefrontal electroencephalographic alpha frequency cordance (EEG-C, a correlate of functional brain activity) during 16 pairs of randomized, double-blinded bottle sniffs (treatment minus control solutions). Results: Exceptional responders versus other patients exhibited significantly more negative initial EEG-C difference scores at prefrontal sites. Right prefrontal cordance findings correlated with subsequently reduced pain (r = 0.85, p = 0.03), better global health (r = -0.73, p = 0.10), and trait absorption (genetically determined ability to focus attention selectively and fully) (r = 0.91, p = 0.012). Conclusions: These observations suggest prefrontal EEG-C as an early biomarker of individualized homeopathic medicine effects in patients with FM who later exhibit exceptional outcomes. Prefrontal cortex controls executive function; including ability to redirect attention. Interactions between executive function, absorption, and the simillimum remedy could facilitate exceptional responses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Complementary and alternative medicine