As reported in the British Medical Journal
The US Food and Drug Administration has agreed to review confidential drug company documents that went missing during a controversial product liability suit more than 10 years ago. The documents appear to suggest a link between the drug fluoxetine (Prozac), made by Eli Lilly, and suicide attempts and violence.
The missing documents, which were sent to the BMJ by an anonymous source last month, include reviews and memos indicating that Eli Lilly officials were aware in the 1980s that fluoxetine had troubling side effects and sought to minimise their likely negative effect on prescribing.
The documents received by the BMJ reportedly went missing during the 1994 Wesbecker case that grew out of a lawsuit filed on behalf of victims of a work-place shooting in 1989. Joseph Wesbecker, armed with an AK-47, shot eight people dead and wounded another 12. He then shot and killed himself. Mr Wesbecker, who had a long history of depression, had been placed on fluoxetine one month before the shootings.
One of the internal company documents, a report of 8 November 1988, entitled "Activation and Sedation in Fluoxetine Clinical Trials," found that in clinical trials "38% of fluoxetine-treated patients reported new activation but 19% of placebo-treated patients also reported new activation yielding a difference of 19% attributable to fluoxetine."
The FDA recently issued a warning that antidepressants can cause a cluster of "activating" or stimulating symptoms such as agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, and aggressiveness. Dr Joseph Glenmullen, a Harvard psychiatrist and author of The Antidepressant Solution, published by Free Press, said it should come as little surprise that fluoxetine might cause serious behavioural disturbances, as it is similar to cocaine in its effects on serotonin.
The full report is freely available at the link.
As reported in the news elswhere:
The documents reportedly went missing in 1994, when relatives of victims of a workplace shooting in Kentucky sued Eli Lilly. Gunman Joseph Wesbecker, who killed eight people and himself in 1989, had been prescribed Prozac a month before the shootings.
The lawsuit alleged the company knew for years that an increase in violence can be one of the side-effects of Prozac.
Eli Lilly won the case, but later said it had settled with plaintiffs during the trial.
The journal said the documents, dated November 1998, reported that fluoxetine or Prozac had caused behavioural disturbances in clinical trials.
Dr. Richard Kalpit, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reviewer who approved Prozac, said he was not given the company's data. "If this report was done by Lilly or for Lilly, it was their responsibility to report it to us and to publish it," he said in a statement from the journal. The journal has turned the documents over to the FDA, which is reviewing them.
In the last six months, regulators in Canada and the U.S. have warned that antidepressants like Prozac, so-called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRI antidepressants, can stimulate side-effects such as agitation, panic attacks, insomnia and aggressiveness.
Friday, December 31, 2004
As reported in the British Medical Journal
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Mandatory mental health screening program would dose pregnant women with prescription drugs that cause birth defects
As reported here on News Watch:
Bureaucrats in Chicago are currently discussing a proposal to require the mental health screening of all pregnant women and children up to the age of 18 years old. The purported mission of the program is to protect the health of the public by diagnosing mental disorders before they become full blown problems -- but in reality, as we've seen from similar programs in the past, the real mission is to diagnose people with fictitious brain diseases and behavioral disorders, then dose them with highly toxic prescription drugs that not only generate profits for pharmaceutical companies, but also for the psychiatrists who prescribe them.
What's especially frightening about this program is that it may include the dosing of pregnant women with prescription drugs that we now know increase the risk of birth defects. We also know from clinical trials and experiments involving mice that children who grow up on antidepressant drugs have a much higher risk of being depressed as adults whether or not they continue taking those drugs.
In other words, it's not enough that as a nation we misdiagnose childhood hyperactivity caused by sugar consumption as being a brain chemistry imbalance and then dose all those children with Ritalin, it seems that we also want to start dosing pregnant women as well. Who's next? Are we going to dose all men under the age of 30? Are we going to require the mental health screening of all elderly people, and start dosing everyone over the age of 65 with brain altering drugs too?
There seems to be no limit to how far the highly corrupt psychiatry community and prescription drug companies will carry this to exert control over the population and generate obscene profits. And the truth is that anyone can be diagnosed with a mental disorder given sufficient creativity on the part of the psychiatrists. If a person is too creative and excited, they have Attention Deficit Disorder.
If they're not creative enough, they have a reading disorder. And if they get nervous while being observed by the psychiatrist, they obviously have a social anxiety disorder. See? It doesn't take much to invent behavioral disorders and then come up with fraudulently marketed drugs that claim to mask symptoms of those disorders.
Welcome to Insane USA, where the mission of the pharmaceutical industry
seems to be: let's put as many people as possible on as many brain altering drugs as possible. And, if you've noticed, the whole idea of diagnosing disease has shifted over the last ten years from diseases that had measurable symptoms (such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure or cancer tumors) to diseases that are largely subjective and have no objective definition.
There is no definition of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) that can be confirmed by a lab test. It is a completely fictitious disease that has literally no
verifiable biochemistry or physiology. It's simply a matter of one psychiatrist walking in, pointing at a child and saying "Oh, he has a disorder -- let's put him on drugs!" And ignorant parents tend to go right along with it because they haven't done the math on drugs, and they're not aware of the dangerous side effects of these toxic prescriptions.
What we really need in this country are laws that ban dosing children with Mind-altering drugs. If anything, our children need to be set free from the chemical prisons erected by psychiatrists, over-zealous school administrators and, of course, pharmaceutical companies.
Mandatory mental health screening program would dose pregnant women with prescription drugs that cause birth defects
Monday, December 20, 2004
If you know the wonderful and original cartoon series, this is a very sad cartoon.
Someone took the time to re-write the cartoon to show what it would be like if Calvin was put on ritalin.
Calvin is a wonderful child whose imagination takes him on the wildest and funniest adventures. Hobbes is his pet Tiger (in reality a stuffed toy)
You can see some of the original series online at
Sunday, December 19, 2004
As seen on this excellent webpage:
Benjamin Rush, MD, signer of the Declaration of Independence, Dean of the Medical School at the University of Pennsylvania and the "Father of American Psychiatry, "described Negroes as suffering from an affliction called Negritude, which was thought to be a mild form of leprosy. The only cure for the disorder was to become white. It is unclear as to how many cases of Negritude were successfully treated.
The irony of Dr. Rush's medical observations was that he was a leading mental health reformer and co-founder of the first anti-slavery society in America. Dr. Rush's portrait still adorns the official seal of the American Psychiatric Association. However, Dr Rush's observation-"The Africans become insane, we are told, in some instances, soon after they enter upon the toils of perpetual slavery in the West Indies"-is not often cited in discussions of mental illness and African-Americans, how-ever valuable it might be in understanding the traumatic impact of enslavement and oppression on Africans and their descendants.
In 1851, Dr. Samuel Cartwright, a prominent Louisiana physician and one of the leading authorities in his time on the medical care of Negroes, identified two mental disorders peculiar to slaves. Drapetomia, or the disease causing Negroes to run away, was noted as a condition, "unknown to our medical authorities, although its diagnostic symptom, the absconding from service, is well known to our planters and overseers. " Dr. Cartwright observed, "The cause in most cases, that induces the Negro to run 4 away from service, is such a disease of the mind as in any other species of alienation, and much more curable, as a general rule. "
Cartwright was so helpful as to identify preventive measures for dealing with potential cases of drapetomania. Slaves showing incipient drapetomania, reflected in sulky and dissatisfied behavior should be whipped-strictly as a therapeutic early intervention. Planter and overseers were encouraged to utilize whipping as the primary intervention once the disease had progressed to the stage of actually running away. Overall, Cartwright suggested that Negroes should be kept in a submissive state and treated like children, with "care, kindness, attention and humanity, to prevent and cure them from running away."
Dr. Cartwright also diagnosed Dysaethesia Aethiopica, or "hebetude of the mind and obtuse sensibility of the body-a disease peculiar to Negroes called by overseers-Rascality. " Dysethesia Aethiopica differed from other species of mental disease since physical signs and lesions accompanied it. The ever-resourceful Dr. Cartwright determined that whipping could also cure this disorder. Of course, one wonders if the whipping were not the cause of the "lesions" that confirmed the diagnosis.
Not surprisingly, Dr. Cartwright was a leading thinker in the pro-slavery movement. Dr. Cartwright, in his article "Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race, " chided his anti-slavery colleagues by noting "The northern physicians and people have noticed the symptoms, but not the disease from which they spring. They ignorantly attribute the symptoms to the debasing influence of slavery on the mind without considering that those who have never been in slavery, or their fathers before them, are the most afflicted, and the latest from the slave-holding south the least. The disease is the natural offspring of Negro liberty-the liberty to be idle, to wallow in filth, and to indulge in improper food and drinks. "
Drapetomania and Dysethesia Aethiopica could be relegated to obscurity along with the spinning chair and other ridiculous assumptions about mental illness and its treatment if African-Americans were not constantly assaulted by updated efforts to put social and economic issues into a medical framework that emphasizes our " pathology. "
In the late 1960s, Vernon Mark, William Sweet and Frank Ervin suggested that urban violence, which most African-Americans perceived as a reaction to oppression, poverty and state-sponsored economic and physical violence against us, was actually due to "brain dysfunction, " and recommended the use of psychosurgery to prevent outbreaks of violence. Clearly, the spirit of Dr. Cartwright was alive, well and receiving federal research grants.
Drs. Alvin Poussaint and Peter Breggin were two outspoken opponents of the updated "Drapetomania" theory, along with hundreds of psychiatric survivors who took to the streets to protest psychosurgery abuses. The issue of brain dysfunction as a cause of poor social conditions in African-American and Latino communities continues to crop up in the federally funded Violence Initiatives of the 1990s and current calls for psychiatric screening for all children entering juvenile justice facilities. Exposing scientific racism is essential to protecting us from further psychiatric abuses and facilitating resolution of social, political and economic problems without blaming the victims of oppression.
As seen in this report
Staff at Ullevål University Hospital [in Norway] were so frightened by a psychotic patient's aggressive behavior that they released him in the hopes that some time at home would calm him. [Ullevål University Hospital has also came under fire after releasing a man in August who went amok on an Oslo tram and stabbed several passengers, one to death.]
A representative for Oslo police said that they were to be informed if the patient was released but instead Ullevål issued a missing person notice after he failed to return. He was assessed as dangerously psychotic by a police physician in October and committed to Ullevål on the 18th of that month.
The Department of Health has an ongoing investigation into Ullevål's routines.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
You would think that Psychiatry and Psychology would have unlocked the key to Human Creativity long ago. But it is not so. A recent study by a business researcher at the Havard Business School has results that debunk six commonly held beliefs about creativity. Being business people, it seems they actually wanted something that worked, vs the usual tripe they get.
The following snippets are from a summary was spotted in the magazine Fast Company.
Myth 1. Creativity Comes From Creative Types
Myth 2. Money Is a Creativity Motivator
Myth 3. Time Pressure Fuels Creativity
Myth 4. Fear Forces Breakthroughs
Myth 5. Competition Beats Collaboration
Myth 6. Streamlining an Organization enhances Creativity
There's this widespread notion that fear and sadness somehow spur creativity. There's even some psychological literature suggesting that the incidence of depression is higher in creative writers and artists -- the de-pressed geniuses who are incredibly original in their thinking. But it isn't so. Not for the vast majority of people.
Simply put, creativity is positively associated with joy and love and negatively associated with anger, fear, and anxiety. People are happiest when they come up with a creative idea, but they're more likely to have a breakthrough if they were happy the day before.
People were the least creative when they were fighting the clock. When people were working under great pressure, their creativity went down not only on that day but the next two days as well. Time pressure stifles creativity because people can't deeply engage with the problem. Creativity requires an incubation period; people need time to soak in a problem and let the ideas bubble up.
It's probably only the public-relations departments that believe downsizing and restructuring actually foster creativity. Of course, the opposite is true: Creativity suffers greatly during a downsizing. Anticipation of the downsizing was even worse than the downsizing itself -- people's fear of the unknown led them to basically disengage from the work.
Anyone with normal intelligence is capable of doing some degree of creative work. Creativity depends on a number of things: experience, including knowledge and technical skills; talent; an ability to think in new ways; and the capacity to push through uncreative dry spells. Intrinsic motivation -- people who are turned on by their work often work creatively -- is especially critical.
An interview with the original researcher can been seen here
Monday, December 13, 2004
An Iowa psychiatrist has to pay a $250 fine -- after he was accused of smearing feces on bills used to pay a $5 parking ticket.
Psychiatrist Dr. Ronald Preston McPike was charged with harassment of a public official. He pleaded not guilty, but was fined $250. Police said McPike claimed the money fell into a toilet.
According to authorities, the money was in an envelope labeled, "Foreign brown substance on bills." Lab test showed the stains were from excrement smeared on the bills. Prosecutors had pushed for the maximum of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine, saying the crime was disgusting. McPike's lawyer said his client made a serious error in judgment and his psychiatric practice has suffered because of it.
As reported here. Obviously a parogon of virtue and a model for his community. How did he ever think this was alright? Is the man crazy?
Funny thing, there was a survey on the page where they asked the following question
If this man were your psychiatrist, would you stop going to him?
Results so far are 89% said yes. 11% said no. I'm worried about those 11%.
See also this other story.
Thursday, December 09, 2004
Tune in tonight, as Primetime Live airs its investigation into withheld information on antidepressants causing suicide in children and adolscents.
As their blurb says:
An investigation reveals evidence that drug makers suppressed information about how antidepressants can affect children.
Check your local listings and be sure to tune in to ABC.
When: Thursday, December 9, 2004. 10:00pm
(but check your local listings first)
Dr. Joseph Glenmullen, a clinical instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, appeared on "Primetime Live" tonight to discuss the often-unrecognized side effects of antidepressant drugs.
Studies of the antidepressants known as SSRIs have established an increased risk in suicidal thoughts and behaviors for children and adolescents, and withdrawal symptoms that include dizziness, nausea, insomnia and nightmares.
If you have questions for Glenmullen, author of "The Antidepressant Solution: A Step-by-Step Guide to Safely Overcoming Antidepressant Withdrawal, Dependence, and Addiction,'" send them in on this page at Prime Time Live. Check back on Wednesday, Dec. 15, for his responses. Glenmullen also consults for lawyers suing antidepressant manufacturers.
For more information, go to his Web site at: www.antidepressantsolution.org
The book The Antidepressant Solution includes a chapter on how changing the dose of antidpressants up or down may make patients suicidal.
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
As By SF Gate Columnist Mark Morford
Right now. This minute. As I type this and as you read this and as false Texas dictators rise and sad empires crumble and as this mad bewildered world spins in its frantically careening orbit, there's a nearly 50/50 chance that some sort of devious synthetic chemical manufactured by some massive and largely heartless corporation is coursing through your bloodstream and humping your brain stem and molesting your karma and kicking the crap out of your libido and chattering the teeth of your very bones.
Maybe it's regulating your blood pressure. Maybe it's keeping your cholesterol in check. Maybe it's helping you sleep. Maybe it's helping you wake the hell up. Maybe it's opening your bronchial tubes. Maybe it's brightening your terminally bleak outlook.
Maybe it's adjusting your hormone levels or controlling your urge to weep every minute or relaxing the blood vessels in your penis or cranking the serotonin to your brain or pumping carefully measured slugs of alprazolam or fluoxetine or sertraline or atorvastatin or esomeprazole or buspirone or venlafaxine or any number of substances with Latin-rooted jawbreaker names through your flesh in a bizarre dance of miraculous vaguely disturbing death-defying scientific wonder.
Forty-four percent of all Americans. That's the latest number. Almost half us are popping at least one prescription drug and fully one in six are popping three or more, and the numbers are only increasing and this of course doesn't count alcohol or cigarettes or bad porn and it doesn't count the mad megadoses of jingoistic flag-waving God-slappin' fear -- which is, as evidenced by the last election, a stupendously popular FDA-approved drug in its own right. But that's another column.
Have a teenager? She's probably on drugs, too. One in four of all teens are, according to new research. And we ain't talking pot or ecstasy or meth or fine cocaine or Bud Light or any of those oh-my-God-not-my-baby devil drugs that are so demonized by the government, but that by and large are no more (and are often far less) toxic and addictive and caustic than any of your average 8-buck-a-pop silver-bullet chemical bombs shot forth from the likes of Eli Lilly and Glaxo and Pfizer, et al. Ahh, irony. It's the American way.
All of which means one of two things: either it's the goddamn finest time in history to be an American, living as we are in the age of incredible technology and miracle medicines and longer life expectancies and $5 coffee drinks and a happy synthetic chemical to match any sort of ache or pain or lump or rash or spiritual crisis you might be facing.
Or it's the absolute worst, what with so many of us heavily drugged and over half of us massively obese and IQs dropping like stones and our overall quality of life deteriorating right under our noses and shockingly huge numbers of us actually finding Shania Twain somehow interesting. Which perspective is right for you? Ask your doctor.
It's become so you can't crack a joke about Prozac or Xanax at a party without at least three or four faces suddenly going still and unsmiling and you're like, whoops, as you suddenly realize that you can, as you walk the streets of this fine and heavily narcotized nation, imagine at least one very expensive drug pumping through the time-ravaged body of nearly every other person you pass. It's a bit like knowing their secret fetish or favoritest dream or on which nether part they want to get a tattoo. Except totally different.
Monday, December 06, 2004
The Shadow Psychology News Network is a consortium of concerned citizens, technical and marketing advertisers supporting an initiative to reform Psychology research and education policies and procedures.
A very impressive site. While I do not agree with everything they have, they are a very good resource.
As seen in this webpage
AMERICA, 1847: a highly competent and, by all accounts, pleasant manual laborer of Irish extraction named Phineas Gage is involved in rock blasting operations in mountainous terrain. In the course of one sadly uncontrolled explosion, an iron bar is picked up by the force of the blast and driven clean through the front part of his head. Phineas is sent flying, but, to everybody's surprise, he survives the removal of the protruding bar. As he recovers, however, it is observed that his personality has dramatically changed, though his memory and intelligence remain apparently unaffected. In 1868, a physician named Harlow from Boston writes about him: "His equilibrium, or balance, so to speak, between his intellectual faculties and animal propensities seems to have been destroyed. He is fitful, irreverent, indulging in the grossest profanity (which was not previously his custom), manifesting but little deference for his fellows, impatient of restraint or advice when it conflicts with his desires." The now extremely rude Phineas Gage is an object of immense medical interest, for it seems clear, from his somewhat crude experience of psychosurgery, that one can alter the social behavior of the human animal by physically interfering with the frontal lobes of the brain.
Note that His behavior only got worse. Not better.
Then we have this:
As early as 1951, even the Soviet Union, where psychiatric abuse was rife, had stopped performing the lobotomy on ideological grounds: it produced unresponsive people who were fixed and unchangeable.
Lobotomy was finally seen for what it was: not a cure, but a way of managing patients. It was just another form of restraint, a mental strait jacket nailed permanently over the brain. It did not create new people; it subtracted from the old ones. It was an act of defeat, of frustration.
The Director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute, Nolan Lewis, asked: "Is quieting a patient a cure? Perhaps all it accomplishes is to make things more convenient for those who have to nurse them ... the patients become rather childlike ... they are as dull as blazes. It disturbs me to see the number of zombies that these operations turn out ... it should be stopped."
A worth while read
Friday, December 03, 2004
A drug that is supposed to the one safe medication to give depressed children may be actually making children suicidal, according to new research. It was found that children had a 50% higher occurrence of suicidal thoughts while taking Prozac, as opposed to a placebo.
This is definite cause for concern given the number of children currently taking the supposedly safe Prozac. More tests must be conducted immediately to decipher if this is truly a risk that parents need to be concerned with. A push for relabeling of Prozac is underway so that parents are aware of this potentially dangerous side effect.
- Prozac, the only antidepressant certified as safe for children, may make kids more suicidal, according to evidence out Monday.
- A large new study added to previous research on Prozac shows that kids taking the drug have about a 50% higher risk of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts than those getting placebos, says Robert Temple, director of the Office of Drug Evaluation at the Food and Drug Administration.
- Temple spoke at the first day of hearings on potential label changes for antidepressants taken by more than a million children and teenagers.
- The discussion continues today, and an advisory committee could end the day by asking for tougher warning labels on all antidepressants taken by kids.
- Following a February hearing, the FDA in March asked drug companies to relabel 10 antidepressants, warning that young patients should be watched for worsening depression and anxiety.
- Critics at the time derided that move as "too little, too late," considering that, in December, British drug regulators had advised doctors to prescribe only Prozac for depressed kids.
- The increased risk for suicidal behavior is small: About two to three kids in a group of 100 become more suicidal because they're on antidepressants, says Tarek Hammad, medical reviewer for the FDA.
- Dozens of parents testified at the hearing that antidepressants had caused their children to kill themselves --- or others.
- Their claims were "passionate and plausible," says psychiatrist Wayne Goodman, chairman of the FDA advisory panel.
Sunday, November 28, 2004
As someone commented on this story:
Free health care! Who doesn't get excited over that prospect? So, how does the state take care of the people in its system?
These mentally ill folks were shot full of LSD and forced to undergo electroshock for hours on end. For over ten years.
But hey, at least it was free!
All this in comment to this paper:
Ewen Cameron and The Allan Memorial Psychiatric Institute: A Study in Research and Treatment Ethics
Here are some highlights, just in case this paper dis-appears off the Internet:
Dr. Ewen Cameron was a very well known psychiatrist who worked for 21 years at the Allan Memorial Psychiatric Institute in Montreal, Quebec. He was highly esteemed among his colleagues and his peers; Gillmor (1987) suggests that Cameron was, when he died in 1967, "one of the most respected psychiatrists in the world" (p.1). At different times, he was head of the Quebec, Canadian, and American Psychiatric Associations, and he was a co-founder and the first president of the World Psychiatric Association (Gillmor, 1987).
Cameron [...] admits to using stimulant drugs and LSD - without the patients’ consent - to disorganize the patient [...] Cameron’s use of electroconvulsive therapy would likely be judged barbaric by the standards of today. [...]
The term "brainwashing" caught the eye of members of the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). [...] The CIA wanted to study brainwashing. Rather than directly fund research, the CIA funded cover organizations who would not be scrutinized as the CIA would be (Collins, 1988). One of these cover organizations was the Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology (SIHE); this group funded Cameron’s research into psychic driving from 1957 to 1960 (Collins, 1988).
Fifteen years later, a group of nine former patients at the Allan Memorial brought suit against the CIA for funding research that led to harm of the patients at the Allan (Collins, 1988). Their lawyer, American civil rights lobbyist Joseph Rauh, wanted to settle out of court because of the advanced age and declining health of his clients (Collins, 1988). However, the CIA was willing to neither settle nor negotiate. Rauh subsequently filed a formal complaint, requesting one million dollars per plaintiff. He then tried to get the Canadian government to support the plaintiffs in their suit against the CIA, [but] to no avail. During the filing of depositions, "CIA and U.S. Justice Department lawyers . . . were . . . stopping testimony where they could on the grounds that it might be damaging to national security" (Collins, 1988, p. 220-21). The Canadian government still would not help, passively saying they "couldn’t release any American-originated documents without the approval of its correspondent" (Collins, 1988, p. 221). The CIA offered a "nuisance settlement" of $25,000 per plaintiff, which was summarily refused. Finally, in 1988, the case went to trial. The lawsuit, however, was fruitless; the CIA never paid any money to any of the plaintiffs, nor did they issue an apology.
The events at the Allan Memorial Psychiatric Institute in the 1950s and 1960s set psychology back to its dark ages
This in a paper that in fact is trying rehabilitate the reputation of this man. The author does not seem to appreciate the full horror and madness of the events in question
Saturday, November 27, 2004
As reported online in the Senior Journal, depressed people 75 or older are just as likely to improve after an 8-week course with an inactive, placebo drug as with an antidepressant, new research indicates. The study shows that after a short course of the antidepressant medication citalopram (Celexa), around one-third of elderly people with depression went into remission -- the same improvement rate seen in people taking a placebo drug.
All of the participants in the study were treated to some kind of "active intervention". For instance, even placebo-takers received a free medical workup, an MRI, weekly visits with health professionals, and free rides to and from their appointments, among other amenities.
Researchers seem reluctant to assign the cause of the improvement to increased activity and extra attention, even though the drugs tested showed no significant effect or improvement.
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
The state of Florida is looking into several psychiatrist misconduct cases, years after the doctors were disciplined by the state but never referred for criminal prosecution. Under Florida law, state boards or departments are required to report cases of criminal misconduct to prosecutors. In at least two of the cases in question, the psychiatrists' practices were restricted by the state, but prosecution was not considered.
A unit in the Department of Health is trying to determine whether any other cases before 2002 were not properly forwarded to prosecutors, said Amy Jones, director of the Medical Quality Assurance Division of the state Health Department. Two cases involve psychiatrists in northeastern Florida who were sanctioned by the state with fines and practice restrictions after they had sex with patients. But Jacksonville-based State Attorney Harry Shorstein said he would be unlikely to prosecute those cases because the activities were consensual.
"Just doing something that's prohibited by the profession is better dealt with by the profession. Administrative action is more appropriate, and it was taken in these cases," he told The Florida Times-Union, in Jacksonville.
Research has turned up about 75 cases statewide that were not properly considered for prosecution, but the state has only forwarded about six to prosecutors.
Saturday, October 09, 2004
BURLINGTON, Iowa - A psychiatrist made a stink over paying a parking ticket, using dirty money to cover the fine. Police say psychiastrist Ronald Preston McPike has been charged with harassment of a public official for smearing excrement on dollar bills used to pay the ticket.
McPike, 52, pleaded not guilty to the charge, a misdemeanor, and was released on $125 bond pending a Dec. 8 court appearance. He was arrested Sept. 30 at his office in Burlington.
Officers received an envelope in July labeled "Foreign brown substance on bills." The envelope contained several dollar bills and a parking ticket made out to a vehicle registered to McPike, police said.Tests indicated the brown substance was fecal matter and indicated the stain patterns resulted from feces being smeared on the bills.
"All personnel that dealt with the bills were offended by what the defendant did," an affidavit said. McPike told police the money fell into a toilet and was retrieved to pay the ticket, police said. If convicted, McPike could face up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.
Friday, September 24, 2004
A former Sydney psychiatrist has been found guilty of murdering South Australia's mental health chief. Jean Eric Gassy, 48, was found guilty by a South Australian Supreme Court jury.
He was found to have murdered Dr Margaret Tobin, SA's Human Services Department's director of mental health services, by shooting her in the back at her Adelaide city office block on October 14, 2002. Gassy, from Oyster Bay in Sydney's south, had plead not guilty to the charge.
During the two-month trial, the prosecution alleged Gassy gunned down Dr Tobin because he harboured resentment towards her over the role she played in having him deregistered as a psychiatrist in 1997. But Gassy told the trial Dr Tobin was a closet lesbian and her real killer was a member of the lesbian underground.
Monday, September 13, 2004
As seen in the Boston Globe
The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, or MMPI, is taken by as many as 15 million people a year and used to screen applicants for jobs from police officer to nuclear technician to priest. Eighty-nine companies in the Fortune 100 use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to determine how and with whom their employees work best. The Rorschach test, the granddaddy of them all, is used diagnostically by eight out of 10 psychologists and routinely submitted as evidence in child custody cases, criminal sentencing, and emotional damage lawsuits. Online dating sites even use personality tests to help match prospective couples.
Clearly, there's something about the elusive notion of personality, and the possibility of capturing it, that draws us to these tests. But an increasingly vocal group of critics is fighting this testing tsunami, arguing that many of the tests themselves have not been tested and that their unscientific conclusions may do far more harm than good. Last year, in "What's Wrong with the Rorschach? Science Confronts the Controversial Inkblot Test" (California), four psychologists dismissed the Rorschach test as having no more validity than "tea-leaf reading and tarot cards." In "The Cult of Personality: How Personality Tests Are Leading Us to Miseducate Our Children, Mismanage Our Companies, and Misunderstand Ourselves" (Free Press), due out later this month, Annie Murphy Paul, a former senior editor of Psychology Today, charges that personality tests "are often invalid, unreliable, and unfair" and that their prevalence has grave consequences, not least the distortion of the very idea of human nature to fit their arbitrary dictates.
Part of a much larger article, reviewing the situation for each of the major tests. Bottom line: bad science used far more often and in situations that even the original authors did not envision, nevermind intend
Sunday, September 12, 2004
As seen in various reports from Yahoo news and elsewhere
Authorities closed three rehabilitation centers in northern Mexico this week and deported hundreds of U.S. teenagers sent there for treatment of drug, alcohol or behavior problems, immigration officials said on Saturday.
Authorities shut the three centers in the Baja California towns of Ensenada and Rosarito (after a surprise raid on the psych facilities) on Friday and began deporting 590 youths, many of whom were in Mexico illegally. A man who answered the phone at one of the centers identified by the immigration officials, the House of Hope Academy in the Pacific coastal town of Ensenada, refused to comment. The other two centers could not be immediately identified and contacted for comment.
Mexico investigated the centers after complaints of maltreatment, and found the youths had entered Mexico as tourists, not residents of treatment programs, the National Immigration Institute said. Immigration officials also said at least one of the centers was run by an American who had also entered on a tourist visa and had no legal right to run a business in Mexico.
"Seventy-five percent of the undocumented Americans have left the country. The rest will stay in the care of the U.S. Consulate in Tijuana until their parents are contacted," said Raul Zarate, spokesman for the immigration institute. The youths were residents at the centers, which treat behavioral problems, drug and alcohol abuse, the Mexican authorities said.
The immigration institute said in a statement the centers had been closed by the state health ministry after patients complained of physical and psychological abuses.
Thursday, September 09, 2004
As reported in USA Today
Scientific advisers to the Food and Drug Administration next week are expected to recommend tougher warning labels or other restrictions on antidepressants linked to suicidal behavior in children.
More than 1 million U.S. children take the pills. A re-analysis of studies, released last month, confirmed that those on antidepressants may be nearly twice as likely to become suicidal as kids given sugar pills, and some drugs appear to raise the risk much more than others.
There were no suicides in the 4,250 children studied, but experts think a "wait and see" approach isn't likely.
"They're going to have to do something," says Graham Emslie, child and adolescent psychiatrist at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. "The horror stories have been just too horrible, and their advisory committee is going to be influenced." [...]
After March, there was a sharp drop in pediatric users of antidepressants, according to an analysis for USA TODAY by Medco, a large pharmaceutical benefit management firm. Records show a 10% decline in patients under 18 taking the drugs in the three months after the March warnings, says spokeswoman Jennifer Leone.
Psych drug companies are expected to do something to stem the tide of falling profits.
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
Editors at 11 international science journals have imposed a new policy that will result in the public release of negative medical research that pharmaceutical companies often prefer to hide.
The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors will require, as a condition for publication, that researchers register their studies in a public repository before undertaking clinical trials on volunteers.
"Honest reporting begins with revealing the existence of all clinical studies, even those that reflect unfavourably on a research sponsor's product," the committee wrote in an editorial to appear simultaneously in its member journals. "Unfortunately, selective reporting of trials does occur, and it distorts the body of evidence available for clinical decision-making."
The committee includes editors from the US-based New England Journal of Medicine, the Medical Journal of Australia and Britain's The Lancet, among others.
The policy was prompted by the tendency among pharmaceutical companies to hide negative research. A recent example was a non-published study on anti-depressants that could aggravate suicidal tendencies among adolescents.
The policy applies to clinical trials starting after July 1, 2005. Current trials have until September 13, 2005 to do so, according to the editorial published in the September 16 edition of the New Journal of Medicine.
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
The case of a Chester County (South Carolina) teenager accused of killing his grandparents is gaining national attention, including a front page story Monday in The New York Times. The Times ran a lengthy story detailing the case of Christopher Pittman, who police say shot and killed his grandparents in 2001 at age 12. The story looks at the alleged link between the boy's behavior and an antidepressant he was taking at the time of the killings.
The newspaper cited Pittman's case because it will be among the first to be tried amid a debate over the safety of antidepressant use among children. Pittman is charged with killing his grandparents, Joe Frank Pittman and Joy Roberts Pittman, in November 2001. Each had been shot in the head while sleeping in their rural Chester County home, and their house was then set on fire. Pittman is being tried as an adult and could face up to life in prison if convicted.
Ocala Star Banner
Washington Times Report
New York Time via the International Herald Tribune
Monday, August 23, 2004
Dr. Richard Boylan is a former California psychologist who had his state psychology license revoked over allegations of improper sexual interaction with female patients in his hot tub (hydro 'therapy'?). He still uses the title doctor, even though he might not be legally licensed for mental therapy anymore.
He may have had gotten into trouble back on the old Art Bell late night radio show. He rode the American Indian 'Star People' mythos for several years and claims to know of secret government/UFO testing spots in Nevada desert. He has engaged in countless character assassinations against UFO researchers who disagree with him. Boylan has conveniently claimed to have been gifted with a brand new and, no surprise, anonymous 'inside source', and to have been the confidant of the late 'government MJ-12 insider' Michael Wolf (also not trusted in some quarters.)
He is now planning to hold a summer camp for "star kids" - children who are alleged to have been genetically-altered by aliens (aka: money-in-my-pocket).
Parents everywhere should beware...
Bell's successor George Noory might not have done his homework, as he is being featured on an upcoming show.
SEE: Full Transcript of California Board of Psychology revoking Boylan's license to practice in Nov 1996
Saturday, August 21, 2004
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced on Friday that it had revisited data regarding antidepressants and suicidal thinking and behavior in children, and said the data may have enough merit to warrant new labels. Specifically, an analysis by senior FDA epidemiologist Dr. Andrew Mosholder found that, overall, children using antidepressants were 1.8 times as likely to have suicidal tendencies as depressed children taking placebos.
This is just the latest chapter in a controversy dating back to last year, when British health officials declared that all antidepressants except Prozac should not be used in children and adolescents.
Regardless, earlier this year two expert advisory committees to the FDA recommended that labeling be changed to reflect the need to monitor all patients more closely. The agency then asked manufacturers to change the labels of 10 drugs.
Saturday, August 14, 2004
Many people who have used mental health services have been unhappy with the care they received, a British Healthcare commission survey has revealed.
This BBC Article details what it is like to be incarcerated in a modern psychiatric warehouse. To sum it up, there is no respect,and no results, or so it seems.
Wednesday, August 11, 2004
As reported at Tech Central Station [by Irwin Savodnik]
The old Soviet psychiatry subscribed to a harsh biological determinism. The psychiatric physician was an absolute authority while the patient's words mattered little more than raindrops at sea. That the patient might have something to add to the doctor's assessment of him made little sense since the origin of his difficulties was thought to be a disordered biology that had to be set right. The idea of a person was quaint but irrelevant.
Part of Soviet psychiatry involved the well-known use of psychiatry as an instrument for political ends. Indeed, there were few other ends in the system. The brothers Zhores and Roy Medvedev offer a shocking, though typical, picture of what things were like in the Stalinist era. In the Soviet scheme of things, political dissent was interpreted as a psychiatric disorder, a difficulty in reality testing, which justified confinement in a mental hospital. Such niceties as due process, length of stay and an appeals process meant nothing. In a state where individual freedom was a bourgeois myth, there was no need to respect basic human rights.
Today in Russia, there are patient protections against involuntary psychiatric hospitalization similar to those in the United States. While some may argue that unwilling confinement is always wrong, such hard-core legislation recognizes the freedom of the individual, which represents a radical change from the pre-Gorbachev era. [...] The great irony is that American psychiatry is moving in exactly the opposite direction. In the past 30 years, the overriding ideology of American psychiatry has shifted to a biological model. Psychopharmacology has become its therapeutic backbone.
The problem, however, is that this model doesn't tolerate free agency. It views psychiatric problems -- moral problems, really -- as medical ones, just as Soviet psychiatry did. It has become more prominent in the courts as the hefty influence of medical diagnoses has replaced the literary-like "assessments" of psychoanalysts. Always, the emphasis is on relieving the individual of moral responsibility. Interpersonal problems, family conflicts, sexual malaise, even shyness, have become medical problems.
So, as the Soviet system came undone and its psychiatrists freed themselves from the confines of a strangulating ideology, American psychiatrists have embraced uncritically the same narrow vision. But as the Soviet example demonstrates with distressing clarity, a conception of people as little more than biochemical bundles fails to address those aspects of ourselves that make us human -- the moral and esthetic dimensions of our lives about which chemical equations have little to say.
[Edited from a longer article]
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
Women who take some anti-depressant drugs during late pregnancy may be putting their babies at risk, Health Canada is warning. The department issued an advisory Monday about the following SSRI anti-depressants: bupropion (used for depression or for smoking cessation), citalopram, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, mirtazapine, paroxetine, sertraline and venlafaxine.
International and Canadian reports reveal that some newborns whose mothers took medications containing Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors or other newer anti-depressants during late pregnancy developed complications at birth requiring prolonged hospitalization, breathing support and tube feeding.
Reported symptoms include feeding and/or breathing difficulties, seizures, muscle rigidity, jitters and constant crying. In most cases, the anti-depressant was taken during the last three months of pregnancy. The symptoms could indicate a direct adverse effect on the baby, or possibly a discontinuation syndrome caused by sudden withdrawal from the drug.
Health Canada said it issued the advisory to increase awareness so symptoms can be recognized and addressed quickly. The agency is working with drug manufacturers to update labelling with new warnings. To report an adverse reaction, consumers and health professionals may call 1-866-234-2345 or fax 1-866-678-6789.
Monday, August 09, 2004
It looks like the psychs are looking for a bunch of government handouts in the form of mandatory screening for all children through age 18. See these related columns and letters:
"Children's Mental Health task force hearings continue through Friday," July 21, 2004
"Eroding parental rights in IL - 2 lettters," July 21, 2004
"GUEST OPINION: Maybe legislators should be mentally evaluated, too," July 23, 2004
"Mental health screening - six letters," July 23, 2004
"Leader readers express outrage with mental health screening plan for expectant mothers and children 18 yrs and younger," July 26, 2004
"GUEST OPINION: Universal mental health screenings: a call to rally," July 27, 2004
"GUEST OPINION: Universal mental health screening would be a waste of resources," July 28, 2004
"Some doctors weigh in on mental health screening," July 30, 2004
"Leader readers continue to respond to mental health screening - 17 letters," August 3, 2004
"GUEST OPINION: Illinois Legislators are nuts," August 3, 2004
"Ten more letters in opposition to mental health screening" August 4, 2004
Thanks to Jim S. for the heads up and links - If it were not for government funding, could the psychs survive on their own?
Sunday, August 08, 2004
Environmentalists are deeply alarmed: Prozac, the anti-depression drug, is being taken in such large quantities that it can now be found in Britain's drinking water. Environmentalists are calling for an urgent investigation into the revelations, describing the build-up of the antidepressant as 'hidden mass medication'.
The Environment Agency has revealed that Prozac is building up both in river systems and groundwater used for drinking supplies. The government's chief environment watchdog recently held a series of meetings with the pharmaceutical industry to discuss any repercussions for human health or the ecosystem. The discovery raises fresh fears that GPs are overprescribing Prozac, Britain's antidepressant of choice. In the decade up to 2001, overall prescriptions of antidepressants rose from nine million to 24 million a year.
<>A recent report by the Environment Agency concluded Prozac could be potentially toxic in the water table and said the drug was a 'potential concern'. However, the precise quantity of Prozac in the nation's water supplies remains unknown. The government's Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) said Prozac was likely to be found in a considerably 'watered down' form that was unlikely to pose a health risk.
Dr Andy Croxford, the Environment's Agency's policy manager for pesticides, told The Observer: 'We need to determine the effects of this low-level, almost continuous discharge.' Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrat's environment spokesman, said the revelations exposed a failing by the government on an important public health issue. He added that the public should be told if they were inadvertently taking drugs like Prozac. 'This looks like a case of hidden mass medication upon the unsuspecting public,' Baker said. 'It is alarming that there is no monitoring of levels of Prozac and other pharmacy residues in our drinking water.'
Experts say that Prozac finds its way into rivers and water systems from treated sewage water. Some believe the drugs could affect their reproductive ability. European studies have also expressed disquiet over the impact of pharmaceuticals building up in the environment, warning that an effect on wildlife and human health 'cannot be excluded'.
'It is extremely unlikely that there is a risk, as such drugs are excreted in very low concentrations,' a DWI spokesman said. 'Advanced treatment processes installed for pesticide removal are effective in removing drug residues,' he added.
Saturday, August 07, 2004
Leading paediatrician Professor David Southall was been found guilty of serious professional misconduct after accusing solicitor Sally Clark's husband of murdering their children. [...] During the GMC hearing, Richard Tyson, counsel for Mr Clark said Professor Southall was an arrogant, dogmatic and "very dangerous doctor" who did not deserve his place in the medical profession.
Tuesday, August 03, 2004
An article by Arianna Huffington, worth reading again
After Littleton: Antidepressants In The Bloodstream.
Filed May 6, 1999 by ARIANNA HUFFINGTON
(Los Angeles Times)
In the aftermath of the Littleton massacre, President Clinton has already proposed new laws to restrict the marketing of guns to children, and on Monday (May 10) he will host a conference to examine the entertainment industry's marketing of violence to children. But no one is planning a conference or introducing laws to deal with a third problem -- the marketing of mood-altering prescription drugs to children.
Despite disturbing evidence of drug-induced manic reactions, the number of antidepressant prescriptions for children continues to soar, reaching 1,664,000 in 1998. And buried in the Littleton coverage was the announcement this week that traces of Luvox, a sibling of Prozac, were found in Eric Harris' bloodstream. The presence of Luvox, the coroner said, ``does not change the cause and manner of death.'' Yes, but did it change the cause and manner of Eric's life?
Luvox was approved by the FDA in 1997 for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive dis- orders (OCD) in children, but not for the treatment of depression. Indeed, no antidepress -ant -- Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil or Luvox -- has been approved for pediatric use. Solvay, Luvox' manufacturer, declares it ``safe and effective.'' Yet the Physicians' Desk Reference reports that during controlled clinical trials manic reactions developed in 4 percent of children on Luvox. Another clinical trial found that Prozac caused mania in 6 percent of the children studied.
Mania is defined as ``a form of psychosis characterized by exalted feelings, delusions of grandeur ... and overproduction of ideas.'' There were plenty of delusional statements on Harris' Web site. ``My belief,'' he wrote, ``is that if I say something, it goes. I am the law. If you don't like it, you die.'' This should have troubled any doctor who was following Harris after he was put on Luvox. Or was Harris one of the tens of thousands of children cavalierly put on antidepressants without either a proper psychiatric evaluation or ongoing monitoring of side effects? The news that Harris had been on Luvox came on the heels of the revelation last summer that Kip Kinkel, the Oregon school shooter, had been on Prozac. These antidepressants clearly did not exorcise the teenagers' demons. The question we should be urgently asking is: did they embolden them?
At a congressional hearing on media violence this week, we were reminded that 95 percent of children are never involved in a violent crime. Most children whose parents own guns do not steal them; most children who watch ``Natural Born Killers'' do not go on shooting rampages; and most children on antidepressants do not kill their schoolmates. But while there is saturation coverage about the dangers of guns and media violence, there is no debate about the dangers of antidepressants on our most vulnerable children's growing brains.
Dr. Leon Eisenberg of the Harvard Medical School described the Prozac/Luvox family of antidepressants as ``potent medications that change nerve transmission.'' ``What happens,'' he asks, ``after two to three years of that?'' But even mildly skeptical voices from within the medical community are routinely ignored as if they were attacks on scientific progress itself.
We are in desperate need of more information -- not just more clinical studies but more data released to the public about the medical histories of children charged with acts of violence. For starters, in the same way that kids are examined for the presence of illegal drugs and alcohol in their bloodstream, they should be routinely examined for mood-altering legal drugs. ``I have testified as a medical expert,'' Dr. Peter Breggin, author of ``Talking Back to Prozac,'' told me, ``in three teenage cases of murder in which antidepressants were implicated in playing a role. In one case where a 16-year-old committed murder and tried to set off multiple bombs at the same time, the comparisons with Littleton are obvious and ominous.''
The response from drug manufacturers echoes that of gun manufacturers: ``Prozac and Luvox don't kill people, people kill people.'' And like gun manufacturers, drug manufacturers are facing growing legal challenges. Littleton was followed by other shootings and bomb threats that closed schools and evacuated students across the country. Were any of the adolescents involved on antidepressants, and was that information made available to the authorities? Did, for example, the probation officer who wrote a glowing report on Harris after his arrest for breaking into a van know if he had been diagnosed with OCD before he was put on Luvox? And wouldn't it have been useful for him then and for us now to know what he was obsessive and compulsive about?
Following the news about Harris being on Luvox, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who sits on the Government Oversight Committee, sent a letter to the FDA calling for ``comprehensive clinical trials by the pharmaceutical companies'' to establish ``the behavioral effects of antidepressants on our youth.'' How much Luvox and Prozac have to be found in the bloodstreams of our child-killers before the FDA takes action -- and the rest of us take notice?
Monday, August 02, 2004
New Zealand police are taking too long to investigate criminal complaints against psychiatrist Selwyn Leeks, say supporters of patients behind the claims. The Weekend Herald revealed that the Government had paid a further $4.2 million in compensation to former psychiatric patients at Lake Alice Hospital, in addition to the $6.5 million paid to 95 others in 2001. More than 30 former Lake Alice patients are still waiting after two years for police to decide whether to prosecute former staff, including Dr Leeks.
Three years ago, the Government began compensating and apologising to numerous former patients of Lake Alice Hospital's child and adolescent unit who claimed they were tortured and sexually abused. The unit closed in 1978. The scale of their mistreatment at the hospital near Wanganui was unveiled in a report for the Government by retired High Court judge Sir Rodney Gallen.
The document revealed allegations of electric-shock therapy being used to punish children, youngsters being locked away with insane adult patients, sexual abuse and painful injections of paraldehyde, a sedative-hypnotic drug.
"I am satisfied that in the main the allegations which have been made are true and reveal an appalling situation," Sir Rodney wrote. More than 30 complaints have subsequently been sent to police by Christchurch lawyer Grant Cameron and the Citizens Commission on Human Rights.
A former college psychiatry professor has been found guilty in the shooting death of the Portsmouth's development director.
John M. Adams, 60, of Barboursville, W.Va., was sentenced to serve at least 26 years in prison after being convicted Tuesday of murder with a firearm specification, aggravated burglary and kidnapping in the slaying of Bobby Burns on July 2, 2003. Adams' lawyer, Jim Banks of Columbus, said he plans to appeal.
During the trial, witnesses testified that Adams entered Burns' home and shot him as Burns' wife watched. Adams told police he had learned from a law firm that Burns and his wife, Michele Burns, had filed a malpractice complaint over his treatment of Michele. Adams was an associate professor of psychiatry at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va. His contract with the university expired in June 2003, school officials have said.
Friday, July 30, 2004
According to reports by Capitol Hill Blue, Bush is taking powerful drugs to control his depression, erratic behavior, and paranoia. White House physician Richard J. Tubb is giving Bush these drugs, which aides admit "can impair the President's mental faculties and decrease both his physical capabilities and his ability to respond to a crisis."
Uh-Oh. How scary is that? The repeated incidents of Bush falling off his couch and off his mountain bike attest to the powerful effects of these prescription drugs.
As reported on MSNBC/Reuters, and seen on Belliciao in Europe
A campaign worker for President Bush said on Thursday American workers unhappy with low-quality jobs should find new ones -- or pop a Prozac to make themselves feel better. "Why don't they get new jobs if they're unhappy -- or go on Prozac?" said Susan Sheybani, an assistant to Bush campaign spokesman Terry Holt.
The comment was apparently directed to a colleague who was transferring a phone call from a reporter asking about job quality, and who overheard the remark. When told the Prozac comment had been overheard, Sheybani said: "Oh, I was just kidding."
While recent employment growth has buoyed Bush's economic record, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry has argued the new jobs are not as good as those lost due to outsourcing in recent years. Nearly 1.1 million jobs have been lost since Bush took office in January 2001.
Thursday, July 29, 2004
As seen in this story (with video) by WXII
Paxil is supposed to help people deal with depression but one woman said her life turned into a living hell after taking Paxil. Pamela Wu of WXII 12 News' sister station in Sacramento, Calf. reports thousands are now taking the manufacturer to court. 4,000 plaintiffs have joined a class-action lawsuit against Glaxo Smity Kline, the maker of Paxil. They said they are hooked on the drug and unable to quit.
"The drug company has a duty to warn the medical community. Clearly, they have failed that duty. Not only does the drug, in fact, cause dependence and withdrawal symptoms, which they're now reluctantly having to admit. The drug companies have known about that for years. Instead of informing the medical profession, they hid those risks," said Karen Barth Menzies, Attorney for Patients
Meanwhile the drug maker continues to protest it's innocence.
Monday, July 26, 2004
Earlier this month I received the following letter
We paid this woman to help our family assuming that she was a psychologist who was licensed in the state of California. I called the medical board and they said she's being investigated and we should file a complaint. We have transcripts of her court testimony where she tells the judge that she's a psychologist. Any info is greatly appreciated.
Well we just spotted this news item from the Tri Valley Herald
As also seen in this story in the Alameda Times Star Online:
A Pleasanton woman who posed as a psychologist and served as board chairwoman of ValleyCare Health System could face criminal charges -- possibly as early as next week -- according to the Alameda County district attorney's office. Rita Lynne was a prominent Bay Area psychologist and active in community groups until last July, when the husband of one of her patients looked into her record and learned she was not licensed to practice psychology or marriage counseling in the state.
The California Board of Psychology concluded several weeks ago in its investigation that Lynne did not have the credentials to practice psychology, according to Deputy District Attorney Marty Brown. Lynne had previously said that she received a master's degree and doctorate in psychology at the University of Colo rado at Boulder.
"The matter has been handed over to us and I should be reviewing the files in the next few days," Brown said.
He added that Lynne could face charges, possibly as early as next week, but did yet have the details.Practicing psychology without a license is a misdemeanor, but Lynne could also be charged with fraud. In addition, she could possibly face perjury charges, Brown said. Former patients have said she gave expert court testimony in their divorce proceedings. Lynne served on ValleyCare's board of directors for six years and was chairwoman for one year. ValleyCare physicians referred patients to her private psychology practice in Pleasanton. She also ran a support group for ValleyCare patients undergoing drastic weight-loss surgery.
The discovery last summer that Lynne was not licensed to practice in the state and that she was under investigation for falsifying her credentials shocked Pleasanton community leaders, her patients and hospital officials.
Lynne's whereabouts are unknown. She abruptly left ValleyCare's board and resigned from the Pleasanton Economic Vitality Committee last July and shut down her private practice.Brown said his office would attempt to locate Lynne and, if unsuccessful, he could issue a warrant for her arrest. Officials for ValleyCare, which has services in Pleasanton, Livermore and Tracy, have not heard from Lynne since she left last July, a spokeswoman said.
Lynne turned up on a Web search Thursday as the instructor for an online class called "After the marriage ends," run through San Diego-based Education to Go, which provides online classes to hundreds of colleges and universities nationwide.
A photo and accompanying biography on the course description Web page describes Lynne as a Ph.D. who has been "teaching healthy lifestyle management for more than 25 years" and has "developed over 20 masters degree courses and other programs for colleges and other professional institutions."The course description mentions her book Financial Freedom for Women, which continues to sell on Amazon.com. The book jacket touts a doctorate credential. A spokeswoman for Connecticut-based Thomson Learning, which recently acquired Education to Go, said four students were enrolled in Lynne's current online class and the class has been halted.
As reported in the British Medical Journal, suicidal behaviour is more likely in the first month after starting antidepressants, especially during the first nine days.
The researchers—Dr Hershel Jick and colleagues with the Boston Collaborative Drug Surveillance Program, Boston University, Massachusetts—compared the risk of non-fatal suicidal behaviour in patients in the United Kingdom who began treatment with one of three antidepressants (the SSRIs fluoxetine and paroxetine and the tricyclic amitriptyline) with the risk in patients who started taking the older tricyclic dosulepin (formerly known as dothiepin).
Cases taking a single antidepressant were taken from the base population of 159,810 users of at least one of the four antidepressants who had been prescribed the drug within 90 days of the date of suicidal behaviour or ideation [i.e., thoughts]. Controls, also taken from the base population, were matched for taking the same antidepressant within 90 days before the case showed suicidal behaviour, age, and sex, but the controls had shown no suicidal behaviour.
In an editorial in the same journal (pp 379-81), Simon Wessely of the Institute of Psychiatry, London, wrote, "The results confirm that antidepressant prescription is indeed associated with suicidal behaviour, and strongly so."
As reported on the New Kelera news for India
A doctor at the Agra mental asylum, absconding after a sting operation showed him selling fake certificates declaring women insane so their husbands can get easy divorces, surrendered before a court Friday. S.K. Gupta has been evading arrest since the exposé July 1. Using spy cameras, Tehelka.com filmed him selling fake certificates for Rs.10,000 each.
"Gupta was accused of issuing fake certificates declaring women insane to enable their husbands get a divorce for a certain amount of money," said an official here. He admitted the physician had been eluding arrest for several weeks. Gupta surrendered before an Agra court, alleging he had been framed by rival doctors.
Friday, July 23, 2004
As reported in The Plain Dealer
A Solon psychologist has been accused of multiple counts of unprofessional conduct for falsely certifying that one of his patients, a habitual drunken driver, completed a substance-abuse program. The charges, filed Friday by the State Board of Psychology, accuse psychologist James E. Kaplar of submitting a document to the Parma office of the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles last August that wrongly claimed his patient, Noelle C. Malott, had completed outpatient and after-care programs at Glenbeigh Hospital in 2001.
Malott, 36, who lives in Solon, pleaded guilty in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court in May to a felony charge of tampering with records after being accused of forging the signature of a Glenbeigh administrator on another BMV form.
She was placed on probation for two years, ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and to submit to regular drug testing.
Court records show that Malott previously was allowed to enroll in drug treatment in lieu of conviction after being charged with possession of drugs in 2000.
BMV records show that she was dubbed a "habitual alcoholic" in 2002 and that she has numerous convictions for driving while intoxicated, speeding or driving without a license.
Malott's phone has been disconnected and she could not be reached for comment. Kaplar, 61, did not return a phone call.
The 11 charges filed against Kaplar also accuse him of failing to respond to requests for information from the board and of improperly supervising psychologists at Parker Hendry & Associates in Westlake and Cornerstone Pregnancy Services in Elyria.
In a separate case, Beachwood psychologist Warren Grossman surrendered his license to the board, ending an investigation of allegations that he kissed, groped and solicited a female patient for sex during therapy sessions in 2000 and 2001.
In a letter to the board, Grossman, 63, said he was giving up his license because he wanted to devote himself exclusively to lecturing and writing. He could not be reached for comment.
Grossman directs the Institute of Light in Beachwood. He also is the author of "To Be Healed by the Earth," a book in which he says he healed himself from a near-death experience after contracting a parasite in Brazil by going outside, lying on the ground and drawing on nature's energy.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
The chief psychologist who advises Cook County judges in mental competency matters has resigned amid allegations that he changed answers on a convicted murderer's IQ test and then lied about it in court last spring. Timothy C. Cummings of Cook County's Forensic Clinical Services submitted a letter of resignation earlier this month to his boss, Dr. Mathew Markos, a county official said.
Bruce Wisniewski, human resources administrator for the Circuit Court of Cook County reported that the letter did not say why Cummings was resigning, and neither Cummings nor his attorney returned calls Monday seeking comment. At the time of his resignation, Cummings had been placed on temporary unpaid suspension, Wisniewski said. The county was investigating allegations that Cummings changed answers on convicted killer Randall Jarrett's IQ test.
The issue came to light during a March 23 court hearing to determine if Jarrett had a high enough IQ to be eligible for the death penalty. Jarrett and his uncle robbed, beat and killed 50-year-old Herman Bailey on the North Side in 1997. Cummings gave Jarrett a comprehensive IQ test last year. The results showed he was "dull-average," but not mentally retarded.
During the March hearing, defense attorneys questioned the results after Cummings read a test answer that was more complete than what their copies of Jarrett's test showed. Defense attorneys then said they found another discrepancy in a test answer.
Cummings attributed the differences to a photocopying error. But defense attorneys claimed Cummings had changed Jarrett's responses to make him seem more intelligent -- and was now trying to deny it. Cummings denied in court that he did anything inappropriate, and in April he told the Sun-Times he would consult with an attorney and look for "some possible redress." Wisniewski said Cummings' resignation essentially has put an end to the county's investigation.
Friday, July 16, 2004
The Texas State Board of Medical Examiners temporarily suspended the license of an Arlington child psychiatrist Tuesday after reaffirming a decision made in May that allowing him to continue practicing medicine would pose a public threat.
Donald Hughes, 53, is accused of sexual misconduct with adolescent patients. He was arrested in April on two charges of indecency with a child after two adolescent patients accused him of sexual misconduct. He was released on bail the same day he was arrested.<>In May, he was arrested on a charge of indecency/ fondling after a third child came forward. He surrendered at Tarrant County Jail and was released on bail. Hughes is contesting his suspension. His attorney, Robert Gammage, declined to comment.>
In the next step of the process, a formal complaint will be filed at the State Office of Administrative Hearings, said Jill Wiggins, a spokeswoman for the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners. The date for that hearing has not been set.
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
As Reported by the Cato Institute:
The Department of Health and Human Services will announce this fall a plan to improve access to mental health services. The initiative follows the release last year of a report commissioned by President George W. Bush recommending that "schools should . . . play a larger role in mental health care for children," screening public schoolchildren for mental illness (with parental consent) and providing counseling and referral services. The HHS should reject these recommendations. Until parents can choose their children's schools, expanding public schools' role in treating mental illness could be harmful to both students and parents.
At first glance, public schools seem like a great place to address childhood mental illness. The 2003 report notes that "more than 52 million students . . . [pass] through the Nation's schools on any given weekday," and early diagnosis improves the odds that medical treatments will succeed.
But consider Daniel Taylor. Like more than one million American children, Daniel was prescribed methylphenidate (a.k.a. Ritalin) to control his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Ritalin is at the center of an emotional debate. Though apparently a safe and effective treatment, many believe the drug has become a convenient means of quieting unruly children. Even with a correct diagnosis, some experts worry that doctors, parents, and teachers have become too quick to medicate.
Thus, when Chad Taylor noticed that his son was losing sleep and his appetite--two of Ritalin's known side effects--he took Daniel off the drug. When Daniel's school found out, it reported the Taylors to child welfare authorities.
Soon the New Mexico Department of Children, Youth and Families dispatched a detective and social worker to visit the Taylors. Chad Taylor told a reporter: "The detective told me if I did not medicate my son, I would be arrested for child abuse and neglect." Though the police dispute that charge, they did claim, as an "ABC News" story put it, "parents could be charged in situations like his."
Much more on this at the original article
The Czech Republic has said it will remove caged beds from psychiatric facilities, following a letter from Harry Potter author JK Rowling. Caged beds with metal bars, used to restrain patients in psychiatric facilities, have long been condemned by human rights groups, the EU and the UN.
The Czech health ministry said it would immediately remove the beds from hospital wards across the country. JK Rowling's letter had contributed to changing their policy, it said. JK Rowling wrote a letter calling for an end to the practice to Czech President Vaclav Klaus and outgoing Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla. In the Czech Republic, children as well as adults are restrained in caged beds. Some Czech psychiatrists say they are needed to protect and restrain patients.
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
As reported on InfoShop
But He's Still Fighting His Profession. As Loren Died, His Newest Book Goes to Press
Statement by David Oaks, Director, MindFreedom
Loren Mosher was like a Schindler of psychiatry, as in the film "Schindler's List."
One of our Schindlers has died. Loren Mosher was a psychiatrist who fought his own profession's oppression, who was a tremendous ally to survivors of psychiatric human rights violations. He died this weekend in Berlin after struggling with a liver disease. This is just a brief note to let people who care about human rights in the mental health system know about this loss of a real hero. If you did not know about Loren's contribution to this area, I've put just a little bit at the bottom of this that I encourage you to read, such as his famous letter of resignation from the American Psychiatric Association.
I'm lucky that Loren was also a personal friend of mine, and on the board of MindFreedom. He did so many things to support me, our group, so many groups, and our entire social change movement. Loren was also superb at encouraging other mental health professionals to have the simple courage and decency to speak out, such as in his work with the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology. He knew how to enjoy life, too. Loren knew how to overthrow psychiatric oppression and have a nice day, such as in his world travels.Loren would be delighted to know that even death is not stopping him from challenging his psychiatric profession!
Loren has worked for many years on a book he co-authored entitled "Soteria: Through Madness to Deliverance." Final details for the book's publishing were being prepared at about the time Loren died. A colleague of Loren told me today the book will be out by September, and perhaps even by the time a memorial is planned for Loren in August. Soteria tells the story of his successful fight to create a commonsense alternative that worked, an alternative to the mental health system that did not use the bizarre bullying and poisoning with massive amounts of drugs that has captured the current mental health system.
Soteria was just a house, with regular people (not mental health professionals) trained to take care of people not by pouring toxic concoctions of psychiatric drugs down these clients throats... not by pushing these clients around... but instead by building relationships. Soteria clients did better, of course, than those who were pushed through the strangling ringer of the current mental health system. But that data threatened the mental health system, and the profession has done much to try to suppress the "evidenced based" humane, empowering model that Soteria championed.
How many people's lives and minds were saved because Loren helped them escape psychiatry's systemic abuse, both in Soteria and in many other ways, internationally? Well, Loren is still winning. He is winning out with his new book. And he's winning out with the thousands of psychiatric survivors and allies his life has touched, who will carry on his struggle, with, hopefully, the same good humor, intelligence, and persistence that I always saw in Loren.
Psychiatric survivor Peter Lehmann announced the news that Loren had died in the Anthroposophic Clinic Havelhoehe in Berlin, Germany during his last ditch effort to fight his liver disease. Loren lived in San Diego, California, USA. There will be more to say about Loren's legacy for the movement to change psychiatry. I will personally speak about him this Bastille Day, July 14, which for 24 years has been a day of protest of human rights abuse in the mental health system (see http://www.MindFreedom.org).
Also, I am sure many of us will join me in remembering Loren at ICSPP's conference http://wwww.icspp.org and at Alternatives 2004. Poignantly, we psychiatric survivors were planning an award for Loren at ICSPP; thankfully, he knew about our often-too-slow but loving efforts to appreciate him. Below you'll find some biographical information, articles, and a blurb I submitted about Loren's latest book. Thank you Loren Mosher, for fighting the good fight with such style, cunning, wit and care. We mourn you, we remember you, and we will redouble our efforts to stop the violations you hated, and promote the humane alternatives you dearly loved. May Loren's life encourage many more Schindlers in the psychiatric profession to have the wisdom and bravery and love and decency to speak out about the nightmarishly horrible abuse that is inherent in the psychiatric system, to confront it, to even laugh in its face, and to build loving alternatives to it.
Loren's work: http://www.moshersoteria.com/
Info about Soteria: http://www.moshersoteria.com/soteri.htm
Psychology Today article: http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1175/is_5_32/ai_55625499
Letter of resignation from American Psychiatric Association: http://adhd-report.com/biopsychiatry/bio_12.html
Monday, July 12, 2004
More than two dozen psychiatric patients in New Jersey who were strip-searched will receive five-thousand dollars each. The state agreed to pay the money to settle a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of 26 patients at the Hagedorn Gero-Psychiatric Center in Glen Gardner. Under the settlement, the state also agreed to new procedures on searching patients. The new rules say patients can be searched for their own safety or the safety of others. Searches can't be used as punishment. The patients were strip-searched in 1999 after a staff member thought she smelled smoke. The searches continued for two to three weeks.
Sunday, July 11, 2004
The psychiatric hospital at Hastings Regional Center already has dropped below a minimum population threshold to allow its closure, Nebraska state officials told a new oversight commission Friday. Some commission members would like to see the Hastings hospital close by Oct. 1, the Health and Human Services' scenario for freeing up the maximum amount of state funding for more community-based services. Gov. Mike Johanns has said that would be his preference. A mental health reform law passed by the Legislature earlier this year authorized the closure of hospital services at the Hastings Regional Center and the Norfolk Regional Center to free up money for more community-based mental health services, such as group homes and day treatment centers.
Saturday, July 10, 2004
As reported in the New York Daily News
A Long Island shrink caught on tape plotting to kill six people was only fantasizing about going on a bloody murder spree, prosecutors said ... Richard Karpf, 52, pleaded guilty to weapons possession but was let off the hook on charges that he planned to murder a patient with whom he had an affair and five other people.
The Great Neck psychiatrist, who spent three months behind bars last year, likely will not serve more time in jail, Nassau Judge Donald Belfi indicated. The plea was a quiet ending to what had been an explosive case.
In February 2003, investigators said they taped Karpf describing plans to shoot his victims in the head and heart, chop them up and dump them in the ocean. Karpf even researched Long Island's most shark-infested waters, Nassau Assistant District Attorney Robert Biancavilla said at the time.
But yesterday Biancavilla downplayed the murder plot, saying it turned out to be more fantasy than reality. "He never named people he wanted to kill," the prosecutor said. "Both psychiatrists for the people and the defense determined that Mr. Karpf has severe psychological issues."
In addition to surrendering his medical license, Karpf pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a weapon - the .22-caliber handgun he purchased from an undercover cop posing as a crook.
He also faces an $8 million malpractice lawsuit from the woman he allegedly marked for death after she threatened to have his medical license revoked when breaking off their affair. Karpf and his defense lawyer Stephen Scaring declined to comment.
Friday, July 09, 2004
A delusional former psychiatrist Jean Eric Gassy kept a hit list of those he blamed for his professional and financial ruin, the Adelaide Supreme Court has heard. A jury yesterday heard Jean Eric Gassy believed mental health director Dr. Margaret Tobin started a conspiracy to have him thrown out of the psychiatric ranks – and even made an aborted attempt on her life just five months before she was fatally shot. Gassy, 48, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Dr Tobin on October 14, 2002, inside the Citi Centre building on Hindmarsh Square.
Peter Brebner, QC, prosecuting, said Gassy and Dr Tobin had worked together at Sydney's St George Hospital in the early 1990s. When Dr Tobin questioned his competence to work as a psychiatrist, Gassy came to believe she was conspiring with "her contacts" to have him deregistered.
A London, Ontario psychiatrist has already disciplined three times for unprofessional conduct with female patients. Dr. Stanley Dobrowolski nows faces charges he stepped over the line with three more patients. He had appeared before the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario three other times over complaints from female students at Western. The numerous charges are listed at the link
Update, as seen in the Toronto Star
When a female patient of psychiatrist Stanley Dobrowolski raised fears during treatment that her boyfriend might cheat on her, the doctor's advice left her shocked. "The doctor said that all men cheat," the woman testified yesterday in a disciplinary hearing held by the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons into sexually related misconduct charges against Dobrowolski.
"I was stunned, I guess. It wasn't the reaction that I thought I'd hear," she said.
The former patient says that during eight appointments with Dobrowolski in the late 1990s and 2001, the psychiatrist gave her unusual advice, conducted physical examinations and commented about her weight. The woman is one of three female complainants who lodged complaints against Dobrowolski after seeking treatment from him between 1989 and 2001. None of the woman can be named due to a publication ban.
These are the latest in a string of misconduct charges against Dobrowolski for sexual improprieties involving nine complainants which have triggered three previous disciplinary hearings and findings of guilt.