France’s Luc Montagnier: Water has a Memory

France is moving to cutback its generous reimbursements for prescribed medicines, and the pharmaceutical lobby has stepped up pressure to hog what is left in the social security pot at the expense of alternative medicines.

Big Pharma battles for more of the French social security pot

Part of this lobby’s traditional armoury is to label as voodoo science, quackery or at best a placebo, alternative therapies such as homeopathy.

But a French knight in shining armour may now be riding to homeopathy’s rescue.

The conventional medicine machine has unexpectedly found its views being seriously challenged by Nobel prize winner Dr. Luc Montagnier, the French virologist who won the prize in 2008 for his work on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

Professor Montagnier, founder and president of the World Foundation for AIDS Research and Prevention and a French medical hero for his HIV discoveries, said recently: “I can’t say that homeopathy is right in everything. What I can say now is that the high dilutions (used in homeopathy) are right. High dilutions of something are not nothing. They are water structures which mimic the original molecules.”

His stance will reassure many members of the public in France where homeopathy is popular — 36 % of doctor’s patients reportedly resort to such alternatives, and 0.3 % of total French health spending and some 1.2% to 2% of reimbursements are for homeopathy. Indeed a visit to any large pharmacy in towns around France will reveal how well-entrenched homeopathy is. These chemists offer a wide selection of homeopathic remedies and other alternatives together with trained staff well able to advise on alternatives to conventional medicine. Laboratoires Boiron now France’s only homeopathic medicine laboratory claims to be the world’s leading manufacturer of such remedies.

As part of a remarkable progression in his career, the 78-year-old Montagnier, announced in January this year he was taking up a position at Jiaotong University in Shanghai, China (widely known as ‘China’s Massachusetts Institute of Technology’), where he is to work in a institute bearing his name.

According to Dana Ullmanm (a Californian–based MPH, America’s leading homeopathy protagonist and founder of his research: “will focus on a new scientific movement at the crossroads of physics, biology, and medicine: the phenomenon of electromagnetic waves produced by DNA in water.  He and his team will study both the theoretical basis and the possible applications in medicine.”

Montagnier’s research, writes Dana Ullmanm, is investigating the electromagnetic waves that he says emanate from the highly diluted DNA of various pathogens. Montagnier asserts: “What we have found is that DNA produces structural changes in water, which persist at very high dilutions, and which lead to resonant electromagnetic signals that we can measure. Not all DNA produces signals that we can detect with our device.  The high-intensity signals come from bacterial and viral DNA.”

Dr Montagnier’s decision to move to China (where he can tap research funds, unlike France where he cannot because he is officially retired) emerged in an interview published in Science magazine on Christmas Eve last year (2010). In it the professor expressed support for homeopathic medicine. Although homeopathy has persisted for 200+ years throughout the world and has been a leading alternative treatment used by doctors in Europe, most conventional doctors and scientists have expressed scepticism about its efficacy due to the extremely small doses of medicines used.

Homeopathy is a practice created by Samuel Hahnemann that believes that incredibly minute quantities of substances dissolved in water can have powerful effects. Homeopathic medicines work on the principle that a toxic substance taken in minute amounts will cure the same symptoms that it would cause if it were taken in large amounts. Scientists completely reject this, claiming there is no evidence to show that water can retain or transmit information and that homeopathic treatments have never been proven in full clinical trials.

Luc Montagnier’s views shocked his professional colleagues when he raised them at the Lindau Nobel laureate meeting in Germany in July 2010.   (The meeting, attended by 60 Nobel prize winners and 700 other scientists was convened to discuss latest breakthroughs in medicine, chemistry and physics).

According to a report in the London Sunday Times at the time he told his head-shaking audience that solutions containing the DNA of pathogenic bacteria and viruses, including HIV, “could emit low frequency radio waves” that induced surrounding water molecules to become arranged into “nanostructures”. These water molecules, he said, could also emit radio waves. He suggested water could retain such properties even after the original solutions were massively diluted, to the point where the original DNA had effectively vanished. In this way, he suggested, water could retain the “memory” of substances with which it had been in contact — and doctors could use the emissions to detect disease.

Montagnier’s move to research the contested Memory of Water theory has stirred significant controversy on the Internet (try Googling ‘Dr. Luc Montaignier ‘Memory of Water’) and there is little doubt that if he succeeds in China, other scientists — as is their right and duty — will be stepping up efforts to disprove him.

Indeed according to Le Monde the ‘Memory of Water’ debate was one of the most stimulating scientific controversies of its time at the end of the 20th century. At one stage says Le Monde it prompted a Nature magazine article by John Maddox, James Randi & Walter W. Stewart in 1988 which derided it as a ‘delusion’ because the claims could not be scientifically reproduced (a basic requirement of all science and one, we add in editorial parentheses, very conveniently forgotten by the ‘scientists’ currently propagating the vastly expensive climate warming scam, see here ,  here and here).

His critics have not disarmed Professor Montaignier, who according to the Le Monde piece stoutly defended the originator of the controversy, his now deceased French colleague Jacques Benveniste. “For me Jacques Benveniste (whose work was initially decried as the Benveniste “heresy”) is a great scientist … and it is really shocking how he was treated.  He died in 2004 as you know, probably exhausted by all his struggles, and I think one day soon he will be completely rehabilitated(…)”.  See article on this in London’s Guardian newspaper March 2001.

And read (in French but passably translated by the Google machine) the views of one if his critics Alain de Weck,  Emeritus Professor of Immunology and Allergy at the Universities of Bern (Switzerland) and Navarra (Spain):  “It is not without some perplexity that I see Prof. Luc Montagnier take over and establish himself as the spiritual successor of Jacques Benveniste…” The “water memory” theory of Professor Benveniste, a French researcher at INSERM- l’Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, spawned a major controversy in the scientific community. Jacques Benveniste claimed to have demonstrated the effect of a product provided by a water molecule that was previously in contact with the product (hence the “water memory” tag).

Story: Ken Pottinger

Further Reading:
Lots of controversy on this French blog

Volumes of anti-homoepathy abuse for this article in the London Spectator magazine

Montagnier’s purported findings would turn science on its head

Here is Dr Dana Ullman’s report

Pro-homeopathy blog praises Montagnier

Why We Need Science: “I saw it with my own eyes” Is Not Enough

The AFIS, Association Française pour l’Information Scientifique, the French Association for Scientific Information, promotes science against those who deny its cultural value, deviate its aims to unacceptable goals or use it’s very name to cover bogus enterprises.

My Day with the Homeopaths – Part I

Sweden’s homeopaths are happy

Has Luc Montagnier lost it asks Derek Lowe, a PhD in organic chemistry who has worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases.

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6 Responses to France’s Luc Montagnier: Water has a Memory

  1. Peter Whitfield March 16, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    The first statement seems to suggest that homeopathic medicines are re-imbursed by the Securité Sociale, when I believe they are not.

    • March 17, 2011 at 10:35 pm

      Two pharmacies in two different towns visited today by the writer confirmed that a patient with a doctor’s prescription for homoeopathic medicines would on presentation of the prescription and their Carte Vitale (national health card) be reimbursed their purchases at the standard rate. The prescription can be either from your own doctor -Médecin généraliste- or from a homoeopathic doctor-Médecin généraliste homéopathe- (who in France trains first as a general clinician before specialising in homoeopathy).

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  3. Yonaton Hyland June 3, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    OK, this is a bit dated, but I just found it and wanted to comment.

    You are right to be skeptical in your article, about Luc Montagnier, because what he wants to do is as impossible as perpetual motion, and for the same reason.

    Leonard Susskind explains here- – (see from about 0:53:30 to 1:04:30), where he tells us that while information is never lost, it can become “hidden.” And once it is “hidden,” it is no longer accessible, which would mean it can’t be used for any constructive purpose.

    So, while Montagnier is correct that the information remains, he is wrong to believe that said information can have any macroscopic effect after diluting it.

    (Think of it like this, that after dilution, the information he wants is only a grain among vast numbers of grains of other “hidden” information. To claim that only what he wants can be used, while the rest remains quietly in the background, is absurd. Take a cup of flour, mix it with sand, then throw it into a desert sandstorm. After the storm, just try to bake bread with it.)

    If he remembered his college physical chemistry, he would know that you can’t beat entropy.

    NOTE – for some reason there are a plethora of scam artists with their own variation of water snake-oil scams. Looks like we can now add Luc to the list.(

    And thanks for the excellent articles you linked to on the scam of AGW.

  4. Pingback: What Nobel Laureates said on Homeopathy – Science-based Homeopathy

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