A Press Release, as seen on the US Newswire
WHAT: Protestors Charge APA Psychiatrists with Creating Deadly Child Drugging Epidemic
-- With antidepressants Under Federal Investigation for Causing Child Suicides, Hundreds to protest the American Psychiatric Association Convention in New York City
WHEN: Saturday, May 1
WHERE: Jacob Javitz Center NYC
CONTACT: Marla Filidei at 213-798-3706
On Saturday May 1, hundreds of parents, children and human rights activists will don black T-shirts with the message, PSYCHIATRY IS KILLING YOUR CHILDREN to protest the opening of the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) annual congress being held at the Jacob Javitz Center in New York City. Leading the protest will be New York mother Patty Weathers, who said parents are fed up with psychiatrists telling them that their child's behavior is a "disorder" requiring dangerous psychiatric drugs. Mrs. Weathers' own story made the front page of the New York Post in 2003, after school officials reported her to Child Protective Services, which charged her with medical neglect after removing her son from an antidepressant that she claims turned him into a "Jekyll and Hyde."
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only recently issued warnings about antidepressant drugs' potential to increase risks of suicide, after numerous parents testified before the FDA panel on Feb 2nd that the drugs had caused their children to kill themselves. The FDA is now under federal investigation since accusations came to light that it had suppressed evidence by one of its own medical experts, who found a "statistically significant" risk of serious suicidal events among children taking the drugs.
Sales of the drugs are more than $13 billion a year, which critics say is the key factor in psychiatry and the FDA suppressing information about the dangerous side effects of the drugs. More telling is that psychiatrists mislead parents about "mental disorders" being a "brain-based disease," or "chemical imbalance" without any scientific evidence to prove this.
-- Between 1995 and 1999, the use of antidepressants for 7 to 12 year olds increased 151 percent and 580 percent for children under six, with children as young as 5 committing suicide.
-- Six million children and adolescents are prescribed cocaine- like stimulants and 2 million are taking Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants.
WHERE AND WHEN:
The rally meets at Gutenberg Playground on West 49th St. between 9th and 10th, at 10 a.m. Demonstrators will march down 11th Avenue to the Jacob Javits Plaza, where the protest will continue in front of the APA convention. There will also be a DOCUMENTARY EXHIBIT, "PSYCHIATRY KILLS" in the Jacob Javits Plaza. APA members will be invited to tour the 120-foot long pictorial display, which documents a 300-year history of psychiatric abuse and failure, from electroshock and psychosurgery to the use of mind-altering psychotropic drugs.
Friday, April 30, 2004
A Press Release, as seen on the US Newswire
As reported on NBC11 in the Bay Area
A two-month NBC11 investigation has uncovered a dirty secret in the medical world. Dozens of doctors in California are registered sex offenders. Some of them have lost their licenses -- others are treating patients. A battle has raged in Sacramento to stop that, but a lawsuit filed by doctors took the teeth out of a new protective law. NBC11's Angie Crouch spent the past two months digging through paperwork, confronting doctors and asking what the state is doing to protect you the patient. According to Crouch, dozens of physicians have been convicted of heinous sex crimes including child molestation, rape, sodomy and child pornography.
NBC11's computer search of the state's registered sex offenders found more than 30 doctors -- some had their medical licenses revoked. Six are currently practicing medicine in California.
In Marin County, NBC11 found Richard Jaqua. He is a physician and surgeon, convicted in 1988 of molesting a 5-year-old girl. His medical license was revoked after he served 10 months in jail, five years probation, and went to therapy, including more than four years in a sexual offender treatment program. But a check of the medical board's Web site shows Jaqua's license is now renewed and current. He is practicing medicine and on indefinite probation.
Another one of those doctors is Dr. Thomas Tartaro, a Southern California neurologist. Melanie Lira says she was one of Tartaro's victims. "With me bent over the table and him rubbing his body against mine," she said. The state medical board's independent enforcement monitor says Tartaro's license was revoked in 1995 after he was convicted of sexual battery on a restrained victim.
"This doctor sexually molested 24 female patients on multiple occasions over a three- or four-year period," Julianne Fellmeth, an independent enforcement monitor, told NBC11. Tartaro was sentenced to 90 days in jail, five years probation and had a 4-year prison term suspended on the condition he obey the guidelines of probation. But in 2001, some were surprised when the state medical board reinstated Tartaro's license allowing him to practice medicine again with restrictions that include not allowing him to treat women. Lira said it was not (enough. "Whatever) I had done was in (vain!" she said.)
Tartaro refuses to discuss his case with the media.
Not specific to psychs, but still very much in the public interest.
As reported in the Intelligencer, a Philadelphia suburb newspaper, with a tip of the hat to the PseudoScience in Psych Blog
Julie Woodward had big plans. She wanted to "work really hard to get good grades." College in the city would be next. Marriage would wait until she was 26. And kids? Julie wanted at least two, "close in age like she and her sister were," her mom said.
Kathy Woodward doesn't have to read the hand-written list her daughter titled "Plan for life." She knows it by heart. The words, the ambition, the thirst for life, fit with the image of the girl the Woodwards knew. Not a death ended by suicide.
"Julie was so open to experiences, wanting to live," said Woodward, sitting in the sunroom of her North Wales home, where photos of Julie embracing her three younger siblings dominate the room. "This was a kid who had plans and hope, not a kid who would do something like this."
The 17-year-old North Penn High School student hung herself in the detached garage of her home on July 22, 2003. Kathy and her husband, Tom, believe her death was linked to side effects from Zoloft, an antidepressant Julie started that week - a drug they were told was safe and needed for Julie's treatment.
Why did she need to be on this drug?
Thursday, April 29, 2004
Here is part of the Mission Statement of the International Coalition for Drug Awareness
What is wrong with our focus on the "drug war" when 200,000 die each year from prescription drugs, yet approximately only 20,000 die as a result of illegal drug use?
Billions of dollars go into illegal drug issues in this country every year even though far more are dying from legal drugs. Everyone is asking, "Where is the FDA?" Busy approving another new drug? And how many more will die from that one?
A two-year Los Angeles Times investigation published in December, 2000 found that the seven drugs approved since 1993 have been withdrawn after reports of deaths and severe side. In the article written by Times Staff Writer David Willam, it states, "The FDA approved each of those drugs while disregarding danger signs or blunt warnings from its own specialists. Then, after receiving reports of significant harm to patients, the agency was slow to seek withdrawals."
Morton Mintz, a former Washington Post reporter, and a Nieman Fellow who won the Raymond Clapper award for reporting the thalidomide tragedy published a book in 1965 entitled, THE THERAPEUTIC NIGHTMARE. His warnings heeded then, and the warnings coming from many other men of great integrity since then, could have spared us the agony we have experienced from the drug tragedies since that time and those we are engulfed in today. He begins with, "Here we shall see that there have been instances when our excessive trust in certain Corporate Consciences has been rewarded with inadequately and even fraudulently tested drugs, with useless drugs and inferior versions of good drugs, with protraction of illness, and with waste of our money. In order that sales may begin and continue, regardless of whether we are healed and spared pain, evidence of serious and even lethal effects has been withheld from the responsible government agency and concealed from the medical profession and the public." (p.xiv)
We wish to honor him here (and those who have followed in his footsteps) in their unending efforts to warn us of these serious problems associated with the drugs we have come to learn to blindly trust. This site is to assist us in making sure that trust is no longer a "blind" trust. We must take the responsibility to educate ourselves about what we are putting into our bodies and brains.
Some of the most popular drugs on the market today are those that increase serotonin levels like the diet pills that were just pulled from the market. Originally Fen-Phen & Redux were thought to be so safe that 18 million people took the drugs. Now we know that they were so dangerous that those who took even one pill have been advised to have their hearts checked. If these drugs could be among the most popular on the market and touted as "the thing" for weight management for a two-year period, leaving a backlash of victims that attorney's offices cannot even begin to handle, what other mistakes will we wake up to tomorrow? What are you taking right now that could be just as dangerous or as damaging as these diet pills? What do you know about the medication you are currently taking? What do you know about the dangers of taking the drugs you are taking in combination with one another? Even more frightening to ask is "What does your doctor know or not know about the answers to these questions?"
Drugs like Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox, Effexor, Serzone, Anafranil, etc. are some of the biggest money makers ever for the pharmaceutical companies. Yet are you aware that the use of Prozac among children from ages 6-12 went from 41,000 in 1995 to 203,000 in 1996. The number of new prescriptions written increased almost 400% in just one year?!! This is a very powerful mind-altering drug that has not been approved for use in children and yet our children are popping it like candy! Just Prozac's affect upon cortisol levels alone should frighten parents to death. One 30mg dose has been shown to clearly double the level of cortisol! (PROZAC PANACEA OR PANDORA?, p. 168) Increased cortisol impairs the development and regeneration of the liver, kidneys and muscles. It also retards linear growth. How many parents are given that information? How many doctors are aware of it themselves?
The study being used to gain FDA approval of this medication demonstrates that the rate of mania (a terrible form of insanity including symptoms of sexual compulsions, criminal behavior, alcohol cravings, rages leading to domestic violence, delusions of grandeur - often mistaken for increased self confidence, wild spending and varied types of criminal behavior) among children taking Prozac was three times higher than it is for adults. Three out of 100 had to drop out of the study due to this devastating complication which developed within a short eight week trial! The most logical question to ask is "Why do this to our children when there are many safer natural options that work as well without serious side effects?"
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
Disgraced psychiatrist Michael Haslam, jailed for raping one of his patients and indecently assaulting two others, has been given leave to appeal against his conviction. The 69 year old, from Easingwold, was given seven years for attacking his patients, at the Clifton Hospital near York. He was also placed on the sex offenders' register. The judge at the Court of Appeal said his case should be heard as soon as possible in light of Haslam's age.
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
This web site is dedicated to the life and work of Thomas S. Szasz, M.D. In it you will find information from friends and colleagues sharing similar points of view to those of Thomas Szasz on diverse topics ranging from psychiatry and law, to drugs and addiction, to psychotherapy and public policy . . . and more. We share a common philosophy here: Liberty and responsibility are two sides of the same coin. No policy-- public or private--can increase or decrease one without increasing or decreasing the other. Human behavior has reasons, not causes.
The purpose of this site is to advance the debate about Thomas S. Szasz's basic ideas and their practical implications. He suggests the following summary statement as a manifesto...
Thomas Szasz's Summary Statement and Manifesto
1. "Myth of mental illness." Mental illness is a metaphor (metaphorical disease). The word "disease" denotes a demonstrable biological process that affects the bodies of living organisms (plants, animals, and humans). The term "mental illness" refers to the undesirable thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of persons. Classifying thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as diseases is a logical and semantic error, like classifying the whale as a fish. As the whale is not a fish, mental illness is not a disease. Individuals with brain diseases (bad brains) or kidney diseases (bad kidneys) are literally sick. Individuals with mental diseases (bad behaviors), like societies with economic diseases (bad fiscal policies), are metaphorically sick. The classification of (mis)behavior as illness provides an ideological justification for state-sponsored social control as medical treatment.
2. Separation of Psychiatry and the State. If we recognize that "mental illness" is a metaphor for disapproved thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, we are compelled to recognize as well that the primary function of Psychiatry is to control thought, mood, and behavior. Hence, like Church and State, Psychiatry and the State ought to be separated by a "wall." At the same time, the State ought not to interfere with mental health practices between consenting adults. The role of psychiatrists and mental health experts with regard to law, the school system, and other organizations ought to be similar to the role of clergymen in those situations.
3. Presumption of competence. Because being accused of mental illness is similar to being accused of crime, we ought to presume that psychiatric "defendants" are mentally competent, just as we presume that criminal defendants are legally innocent. Individuals charged with criminal, civil, or interpersonal offenses ought never to be treated as incompetent solely on the basis of the opinion of mental health experts. Incompetence ought to be a judicial determination and the "accused" ought to have access to legal representation and a right to trial by jury.
4. Abolition of involuntary mental hospitalization. Involuntary mental hospitalization is imprisonment under the guise of treatment; it is a covert form of social control that subverts the rule of law. No one ought to be deprived of liberty except for a criminal offense, after a trial by jury guided by legal rules of evidence. No one ought to be detained against his will in a building called "hospital," or in any other medical institution, or on the basis of expert opinion. Medicine ought to be clearly distinguished and separated from penology, treatment from punishment, the hospital from the prison. No person ought to be detained involuntarily for a purpose other than punishment or in an institution other than one formally defined as a part of the state's criminal justice system.
5. Abolition of the insanity defense. Insanity is a legal concept involving the courtroom determination that a person is not capable of forming conscious intent and, therefore, cannot be held responsible for an otherwise criminal act. The opinions of experts about the "mental state" of defendants ought to be inadmissible in court, exactly as the opinions of experts about the "religious state" of defendants are inadmissible. No one ought to be excused of lawbreaking or any other offense on the basis of so-called expert opinion rendered by psychiatric or mental health experts. Excusing a person of responsibility for an otherwise criminal act on the basis of inability to form conscious intent is an act of legal mercy masquerading as an act of medical science. Being merciful or merciless toward lawbreakers is a moral and legal matter, unrelated to the actual or alleged expertise of medical and mental health professionals.
6. In 1798, Americans were confronted with the task of abolishing slavery, peacefully and without violating the rights of others. They refused to face that daunting task and we are still paying the price of their refusal. In 1998, we Americans are faced with the task of abolishing psychiatric slavery, peacefully and without violating the rights of others. We accept that task and are committed to working for its successful resolution. As Americans before us have eventually replaced involuntary servitude (chattel slavery) with contractual relations between employers and employees, we seek to replace involuntary psychiatry (psychiatric slavery) with contractual relations between care givers and clients.
Thomas Szasz March 1998
State regulators will close Four Winds hospital in Syracuse, NY because they say the psychiatric facility is incapable of fixing a litany of problems, including filthy conditions, lack of supervision and use of dangerous patient restraint practices.
In a letter sent to Four Winds on Monday, the state Office of Mental Health said it will revoke the hospital's operating certificate unless it agrees to voluntarily surrender the certificate.
The state's action stems from an inspection it conducted last month that turned up serious, widespread deficiencies at the 107-bed private hospital at 650 S. Salina St. The state ordered Four Winds to shut off admissions March 26 following that inspection. Those problems were similar to deficiencies inspectors discovered at the facility two years ago.
In the letter, James B. McQuide of the state Office of Mental Health wrote, ". . . it is clear that the corrective action implemented two years ago at Four Winds/Syracuse was neither sustained nor effective."
McQuide said his agency is not confident a plan of correction submitted by Four Winds would lead to permanent improvements. He also said the agency doesn't believe the hospital can ensure basic patient rights.
As reported in The Post Standard
Monday, April 26, 2004
If credentialed "mental health" professionals can't tell a live patient from a dead one, how can they presume to conclude and believe a head of another contains an ailing brain just by looking at it?
Mental health workers visited patient without realizing she was dead.
(Linked updated to use the Archive.org copy of the wwebpage)
A mental health charity is reviewing its home visit procedures after two members of staff visited a patient and left without realising she was dead. Mind launched the inquiry after an inquest heard how the two visitors left paranoid schizophrenic Patricia Harris in the kitchen of her Coventry bedsit after she made no response to their greetings. The death of the 43-year-old only came to light the following day when two other Mind staff visited and saw she had passed away.
Kay St Clair, director of Mind's Coventry branch, described the events surrounding Miss Harris' death as "unprecedented" in the charity's experience. "We have extended our deepest sympathies to Mr and Mrs Harris,"she said. "Coventry Mind is immediately conducting a full internal review of procedures and practices in addition to taking external help and advice from independent outside experts."
The inquest in Coventry has heard Helen Redmond, the assistant head of housing services for the city's branch of Mind, and James Howard, one of the charity's community psychiatric nurses, visited Miss Harris at her bedsit in Binley Road on August 13 after learning that she had not been seen for five days. Entering the flat, they saw Miss Harris dressed in outdoor clothing and positioned between the two kitchen walls. Unable to see her face or any movement, and hearing no response to their efforts to engage her in conversation, the pair left when the telephone rang, to allow her to answer it.
With a tip of the hat to the Stop Shrinks website
Sunday, April 25, 2004
Saturday, April 24, 2004
The Holocaust Memorial Museum's new exhibit, "Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race," takes a chilling look at the Nazi use of eugenics and its applications. The term "eugenics" comes from the Greek word meaning "well-born." In the 20th century, it came to mean something far more sinister: a scientific movement to create a more perfect race. NPR's Christopher Joyce reports.
These were the men behind Hitler
Eleven drug overdose deaths in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties have been linked to a Milwaukee psychiatrist who once held key posts at the Medical College of Wisconsin and a local veterans hospital, according to federal drug investigators.
Richard I.H. Wang, 79, is under investigation for prescribing dangerous levels of addictive painkillers such as OxyContin, Percocet and Valium, according to documents filed Friday in federal court in Milwaukee. Federal officials also suspect Wang of Medicare and Medicaid fraud, according to the documents. Wang, who has practiced medicine in Wisconsin for 40 years, has a history of complaints dating back to 1993.
The west side pharmacy that filled many of the prescriptions in question ordered more than 1,000% more of certain drugs from its supplier than others its size, the records show. The pharmacist there says he has contacted state licensing officials 10 times since 1998 about whether he should continue to fill Wang's prescriptions and was told it was fine.
In addition to the prescriptions, authorities are suspicious about hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bills Wang submitted to Medicare and Medicaid. Wang generally spent very small amounts of time with each patient, yet submitted bills to the two federal programs indicating complex visits that lasted 40 minutes or more, according to court documents. Analysis of his bills shows that Wang claimed to have worked with Medicare and Medicaid patients for between 12 and 17 hours on at least six days in 2002 and 2003.In addition to the prescriptions, authorities are suspicious about hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bills Wang submitted to Medicare and Medicaid. Wang generally spent very small amounts of time with each patient, yet submitted bills to the two federal programs indicating complex visits that lasted 40 minutes or more, according to court documents. Analysis of his bills shows that Wang claimed to have worked with Medicare and Medicaid patients for between 12 and 17 hours on at least six days in 2002 and 2003.
Friday, April 23, 2004
With financial ties to nearly two dozen drug and biotech companies, Dr. Charles B. Nemeroff may hold some sort of record among academic clinicians for the most conflicts of interest. A psychiatrist, a prominent researcher, and chairman of the department of psychiatry and behavioral science at Emory University in Atlanta, Nemeroff receives funding for his academic research from Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Wyeth-Ayerst--indeed from virtually every pharmaceutical house that manufactures a drug to treat mental illness. He also serves as a consultant to drug and biotech companies, owns their stocks, and is a member of several speakers' bureaus, delivering talks--for a fee--to other physicians on behalf of the companies' products.
But it was just three of Nemeroff's many financial entanglements that caught the eye of Dr. Bernard J. Carroll last spring while reading a paper by the Emory doctor in the prominent scientific journal, Nature Neuroscience. In that article, Nemeroff and a co-author reviewed roughly two dozen experimental treatments for psychiatric disorders, opining that some of the new treatments were disappointing, while others showed great promise in relieving symptoms. What struck Carroll, a psychiatrist in Carmel, Calif., was that three of the experimental treatments praised in the article were ones that Nemeroff stood to profit from--including a transdermal patch for the drug lithium, for which Nemeroff holds the patent.
As seen in the Washington Monthly
With a tip of the hat to the PsuedoScience in Psych Blog for their earlier story.
As Reported on MSNBC
Four popular antidepressants being used to treat thousands of depressed American children are unsafe, ineffective or both, according to the first careful scientific review to include all available studies, including negative data that have long been withheld from public scrutiny by the pharmaceutical industry.
It is especially dangerous to prescribe Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor and Celexa for children who are suicidal, said British researchers who conducted the analysis published yesterday in the journal the Lancet, because the data show a clear increase in the risk of suicidal behavior among children taking the drugs -- and no benefit.
The study calls into question the repeated assurances of the American psychiatric establishment, which has regularly encouraged use of the medications in depressed children. It also contrasts sharply with the position of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has had access to the same data but has never identified such serious problems.
The analysis involved no new data, but it is the first scientific "meta-analysis" of all available trials to be published in a peer-reviewed journal. As such, it puts the scientific debate over the medications on a new footing and deepens the chasm between the predominantly positive American view of the drugs and a growing stream of negative reviews by Australian, Canadian and British psychiatrists. The Lancet analysis backs up the warning by British regulators last year not to prescribe the medications to depressed children.
In a sharply worded editorial, the Lancet's editors said the trust of patients had been abused by doctors and the pharmaceutical industry, and that safety had been compromised in the search for profits. The state of the research, the editorial concluded, is riddled with "confusion, manipulation and institutional failure."
"If I wanted to introduce a new drug for children who are suicidal and said this has very little proof of efficacy and it has an increased risk of suicide, people would say I was mad," said Tim Kendall, director of the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health in London, and one of the authors of the new study.
Yet, Kendall said, that is precisely the situation with the four drugs. Kendall's analysis, which was funded by the British government, contrasted the largely positive results of studies published by drug manufacturers with negative data that the companies call proprietary and have not published. British regulators recently made the unpublished data available for study.
Visit The Lancet Website here
To browse the content of THE LANCET web sites, you will first need to register: Registration is FREE and will only take a couple of minutes of your time.
Hate to say we told you so, but ....
In case people thought differently, political use of psychiatry continues to the present day
Criminal prosecution case No. 8706 against The Radical Politics newspaper (“Radikalnaya Politika”) and its editor Boris Stomakhin keeps gaining momentum. Mr. Stomakhin was subpoenaed for interrogation in the prosecutor’s office of North-Eastern Administrative District of the city of Moscow for April 26 at 1:00 PM to report to special investigator Kolobova S.N. (office phone 7(095) 688-9608), who is in charge of this filthy and outright repressive political case.
Ms. Kolobova told Mr. Stomakhin that psychiatric medical examination has already been scheduled for him for May 24, 2004, which she promised during the first interrogation on April 13.
It is not the first time when Putin’s government is trying to use psychiatric methods, notorious since the Soviet times, against the editor of The Radical Politics. Back then the KGB used to resort to its favorite trick to declare the dissidents, the opponents of the Soviet system, or just plainly thinking people, as mentally sick and lock them up in psychiatric wards, where they were injected huge doses of neuroleptics, which made them lose their mind and which was ruining their health, and where the dissidents were subjected to all sorts of physical tortures. FSB investigator I. Asochakov offered Mr. Stomakhin to undergo psychiatric medical examination last year, when Mr. Stomakhin was a witness in the previous case against The Radical Politics. There is also some confidential information that the FSB (Russian Federal Security Service, formerly known as the KGB) has been asking Mr. Stomakhin’s acquaintances and wondering about his mental health since the end of 2001.
Revolutionary Contact Union is hereby making a decided and strong protest against the revival of such practices in present-day Russia, even against the slightest attempts to return to punitive psychiatric methods. In expectation of the KGB-controlled psychiatric medical examination with the conclusions known in advance, we are publishing the document issued to Mr. Stomakhin on the results of his checkup by psychiatrists from Independent Psychiatric Association of Russia.
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Melbourne, Australia child psychiatrist, Dr Selwyn Leeks, faces a second investigation by the Victorian Medical Practitioners Board, as well as possible criminal charges in New Zealand. Dr Leeks is already being investigated by the board following claims that he allowed children to be punished with electric shock treatment and pain-inducing injections while in charge of a psychiatric hospital unit in NZ in the 1970s.
Now a former female patient has accused the Cheltenham-based doctor of sexual misconduct when he treated her for anxiety in Melbourne in 1979-80. Outlining the allegations for the first time, the former patient told The Sunday Age that over several visits Dr Leeks had asked her to sit on his knee, fondled her and requested sexual acts. The woman, who did not wish to be identified, said she had given the Victorian Medical Practitioners Board a statement and was interviewed by an official from the board last month.
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
According to a New York Times report, Top Food and Drug Administration officials have admitted that they barred the agency's top expert from testifying at a public hearing about his conclusion that antidepressants cause children to become suicidal because they viewed his findings as alarmist and premature.
Dr. Andrew D. Mosholder, an agency epidemiologist, was the man charged with analyzing 22 studies involving 4,250 children and seven drugs. In a carefully argued, 33-page memorandum, he concluded that children given antidepressants were almost twice as likely as those given placebos to become suicidal.
The controversy had its start when GlaxoSmithKline sought a six-month extension to its patents on Paxil. To help guide pediatricians' prescribing habits, federal law grants such extensions when companies test their medicines in children.
The company's studies in depressed children failed to show any positive effect. It was a disappointing finding, but patent extensions are granted even when studies fail. Reviewing the data, Dr. Mosholder noticed in October 2002 that they showed a disturbing number of problems listed under the category, "emotional liability." Suicidal thoughts and self-injurious behavior were among the things lumped into this category. Dr. Mosholder asked GlaxoSmithKline to provide more detail about these cases, according to one of the documents.
In May 2003, the company submitted a new report. It showed that children given Paxil were more likely to become suicidal than those given placebos. In June, the agency announced that doctors should avoid using Paxil in depressed children.
Three days later, according to documents and interviews, the agency asked for similar data from the makers of Prozac, Zoloft, Luvox, Celexa, Wellbutrin, Effexor, Serzone and Remeron.
Saturday, April 17, 2004
As reported in the British Medical JournaL
How safe and effective are antidepressants in children and adolescents? The authors of this review have found disturbing shortcomings in the methods and reporting of trials of newer antidepressants in this patient group.
To put it bluntly,
Conclusions on the efficacy of newer antidepressants in childhood depression have exaggerated their benefits
Additional benefit from drugs is of doubtful clinical significance
Adverse effects have been downplayed
Antidepressant drugs cannot confidently be recommended as a treatment option for childhood depression
As noted toward the end of the paper,
Randomised controlled trials usually underestimate the serious adverse effects of drugs. The fact that serious adverse effects with newer antidepressants are common enough to be detected in randomised controlled trials raises serious concerns about their potential for harm.
The magnitude of benefit is unlikely to be sufficient to justify risking those harms, so confidently recommending these drugs as a treatment option, let alone as first line treatment, would be inappropriate.
In other words, it's bad medicine.
Friday, April 16, 2004
An Australian court has given the go-ahead for a 13-year-old girl who wants to be a boy to begin a "sex change" process, prompting strong criticism and calls for government intervention. The girl, known only as "Alex," will be allowed to begin taking hormones - initially estrogen and progestogen to suppress menstruation and the feminization of her young body and, at the age of around 16, testosterone to begin the masculinization process.
The court heard that her father, with whom she was very close and who treated her as if she was a boy, died when she was five. The court was unable to contact her estranged mother, whose whereabouts are unknown. With onset of puberty, Alex began to develop suicidal tendencies, which the judge said was "due to his body not matching his male gender identity."
I remember a guy who was on Oprah many years ago. He convinced his mother to mortgage her house, incurring massive debt, so that he could have a sex change operation to become a woman. When it was all said and down. He then discovered that he really wanted to be a man in the first place, that the sex change was not what he thought it was.
In both cases the mind boggles both at the courts, and at the competency of the therapists.
Thursday, April 15, 2004
An Akron Public Schools psychologist charged with soliciting prostitution has completed a court diversion program that will keep him from carrying a criminal record. Meanwhile, school board members are trying to determine whether they should discipline Patrick McGown, who has no apperent blemishes on his 27-year career with the district.
McGown, 51, was arrested about 10 a.m. Dec. 9 for receiving oral sex from a prostitute during a weekday work shift. The incident occurred in a University of Akron parking deck on East Buchtel Avenue.
McGown's court case is concluding at the same time city and court officials are getting tougher on those who commit prostitution-related crimes. Within the last week, the eligibility requirements for the court diversion program have been changed to exclude solicitation and prostitution offenders, said Chief City Prosecutor Doug Powley.
``This case had nothing to do with our decision,'' Powley said. ``There has been some discussion over a period of time whether to allow this type of offense to be included in diversion. There have been many complaints throughout neighborhoods of Akron about problems prostitution causes.'
Saturday, April 10, 2004
Her son's abusers are in prison and a settlement with the state of Missouri has just been finalized, but there's no end to the ordeal that Donna Uhlmansiek and her family have faced for four years.
Uhlmansiek's son, now 14, is among eight boys who were believed to have been the victims of a wide range of abuse at a state-run mental health center in Marshall, Mo. According to reports, boys at the Marshall Habilitation Center were slammed against floors, hit with books, forced into cold showers and made to attack each other.
Four former workers are behind bars for what went on at the center in August 2000. Last month, Uhlmansiek's son was awarded $950,000 in a settlement with the state. The mother said no amount of money will help her son recover from the trauma he went through. For the past 14 months, the boy has required round-the-clock care at a psychiatric hospital.
Even with the money, Uhlmansiek said her family must depend on a state mental health system she does not fully trust. The boy's treatment can cost more than $25,000 a month. The family can't seek private care without depleting the trust fund in as little as two years. Instead, the boy remains in state care under the Medicaid program.
"Unfortunately the settlement does not give us the financial independence we would need to not have to involve the state in his life," she said. At least four families have sued the state over the treatment at the Marshall center. Three were represented by the Jefferson City law firm of Roger Brown and Associates. Chris Slusher, a lawyer at the firm, said the two other families in the suit settled for $600,000 each last year. Uhlmansiek said she would have liked the case to have gone to trial, but following through after the other families had settled seemed daunting.
As reported in the Telegraph
Scientists in America have devised a new syndrome that 'explains' bad behaviour in under-10s - Oppositional Defiant Disorder Children who behave badly are no longer described as naughty but suffering from Oppositional Defiant Disorder - or ODD syndrome.
The condition, which was established by scientists in America, is said mainly to affect children under 10 and result in a number of disruptive symptoms including defiance, provocative conduct and disobedience. Literature on the subject says that sufferers "argue persistently with adults", "actively refuse to comply with adults' requests or rules" and "often deliberately annoy people". Other ODD children are said to "consistently blame others for their own misbehaviour". ODD is one of about 300 classified mental disorders - most identified in the US - that doctors and psychologists use to explain bad behaviour. Some of these "conduct disorders" are considered to be treatable with drugs such as Ritalin. [...]
Michele Elliott, the director of the child welfare charity Kidscape, said: "Other parents are getting fed up with sending their well-behaved children to school only for them to have their lessons disrupted by children who are not properly disciplined. "I do not believe that we should be excusing bad behaviour with medical terms. What we need is a situation where children face consequences for their actions and good parenting skills."
The Office for National Statistics study, published earlier this year, found that children from the poorest backgrounds were three times more likely to have conduct disorders than those whose parents were in professional occupations, and that children of lone parents were twice as likely to suffer from poor mental health as those living with couples.
Another disease, another potential market.
A judge has suspended the license of an Albany psychologist following a patient's accusations he fondled her genitals, kissed her and sucked her toes to create a stronger patient-therapist bond, according to written allegations from the California Board of Psychology.
California Administrative Law Judge Ruth Astle suspended the license of Jeffrey Arthur LeRoux, who practiced in Berkeley, for gross negligence and sexual misconduct with a patient.
LeRoux also is accused of improper distribution of prescription drugs, including Prozac, and failure to maintain records of therapy sessions with the patient, who reported the alleged misconduct early last year. She reportedly went to LeRoux, 53, on a referral from Alameda County Mental Health Access for treatment of post traumatic stress disorder and childhood sexual abuse.
This story is starting to get some play in California
Friday, April 09, 2004
Berkshire (England) mental healthcare director Philippa Slinger has denied there was a cover-up when parents were not told a psychiatrist who treated 176 youngsters had been trapped in a police child porn probe. Married father-of-two Julian Morrell was suspended for a year by the General Medical Council on Tuesday after it heard he paid to watch internet pornography involving children on his home computer. He was trapped in the nationwide police dragnet codenamed Operation Ore which also brought the arrest of The Who guitarist Pete Townsend.
But the GMC ruled that while viewing the images was tantamount to child abuse he should not be permanently struck off because he does not pose a threat. Dr Morrell, of Banbury Road, Oxford, used the US-based site in 1999 while working in Oxford-shire and did not become a consultant with the Reading-based Berkshire Healthcare NHS Trust until 2001. A month after discovering the allegations in January last year the trust sacked him - but families were not told until last week.
This story has been reported widely in Britain
Wednesday, April 07, 2004
The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is calling for volunteers to take part in a major new study into human and chimpanzee behaviours. Animal behaviour experts at ZSL are asking volunteers to 'talk chimp' in everyday life and see how primate patter can resolve workplace conflicts, express emotions and strengthen human bonds. The results of this major study will be published later in the year to see just how 'talking chimp' can help in everyday life.
They believe that "Talking like Chimps" is a viable solution to a number of human problems.
Instead of bitching about your terrifying boss behind their back, try showing them your fear by baring your teeth and using submissive body language such as lowering your head and crouching. [...] Organisational psychologist Professor Cary Cooper told BBC News Online that anyone willing to try it could learn a lot from our chimp cousins. "We should not be aggressive towards those in authority, as animals can be, but we should express our feelings."
The Mind Boggles
Monday, April 05, 2004
A consultant child psychiatrist could be struck off Britain's medical register [removing his ability to practice] after admitting he accessed child pornography on his home computer.
Morrell, 41, of Banbury Road in Oxford, was a senior registrar at Park Hospital for Children in Headington at the time, between January 1999 and January 2000. He was also a clinical lecturer in child and adolescent psychiatry at the same hospital.
Morrell was arrested in January last year as part of Operation Ore, the British arm of an international inquiry into child pornography on the internet.
As seen online here
Pharmaceutical companies tried HIV drug on orphans: scandal in which babies and children were allegedly used as 'laboratory animals'
As seen here
Also as reported here, in the Observer
Orphans and babies as young as three months old have been used as guinea pigs in potentially dangerous medical experiments sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, an Observer investigation has revealed. British drug giant GlaxoSmithKline is embroiled in the scandal. The firm sponsored experiments on the children from Incarnation Children's Centre, a New York care home that specialises in treating HIV sufferers and is run by Catholic charities.
The children had either been infected with HIV or born to HIV-positive mothers. Their parents were dead, untraceable or deemed unfit to look after them. According to documents obtained by The Observer, Glaxo has sponsored at least four medical trials since 1995 using Hispanic and black children at Incarnation. The documents give details of all clinical trials in the US and reveal the experiments sponsored by Glaxo were designed to test the 'safety and tolerance' of Aids medications, some of which have potentially dangerous side effects. Glaxo manufactures a number of drugs designed to treat HIV, including AZT. Normally trials on children would require parental consent but, as the infants are in care, New York's authorities hold that role.
The city health department has launched an investigation into claims that more than 100 children at Incarnation were used in 36 experiments - at least four co-sponsored by Glaxo. Some of these trials were designed to test the 'toxicity' of Aids medications. One involved giving children as young as four a high-dosage cocktail of seven drugs at one time. Another looked at the reaction in six-month-old babies to a double dose of measles vaccine. Most experiments were funded by federal agencies like the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Until now Glaxo's role had not emerged.
In 1997 an experiment co-sponsored by Glaxo used children from Incarnation to 'obtain tolerance, safety and pharmacokinetic' data for Herpes drugs. In a more recent experiment, the children were used to test AZT. A third experiment sponsored by Glaxo and US drug firm Pfizer investigated the 'long-term safety' of anti-bacterial drugs on three-month-old babies. The medical establishment has defended the trials arguing they enabled these children to obtain state-of-the-art therapy they would otherwise not have received for potentially fatal illnesses.
However, health campaigners argue there is a difference between providing the latest drugs and experimentation. They claim many of the experiments were 'phase 1 trials' - among the most risky - and that HIV tests for babies were not a reliable indicator of actual infection and therefore toxic drugs could have been given to healthy infants. HIV drugs are similar to those used in chemotherapy and can have serious side-effects.
Much more at the links.
Of course, GlaxoSmithKline is the manufacturer of Paxil, among other psychiatric drugs. Somehow it is not surprising that their possible misdeeds would not be restricted to one particular product line.
The more television children watch between the ages of 1 and 3, the greater their risk of having attention problems at age 7, U.S. researchers reported on Monday. They found that each hour of television that preschoolers watched per day increased the risk of attention problems such as attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, by almost 10 percent later on. The study, published in the April issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, adds inattention to the list of harmful effects of excessive television viewing that also includes obesity and violent behavior.
See this Rueters Report
See this report by Julie Davidow
Which begs the question: Is the solution less TV, or more drugs?
I would not call it inattention, but totally distracted.
To be fair, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children younger than 2 not watch any television. However, according to a recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 26 percent of children younger than 2 have televisions in their rooms and 36 percent of families leave the television on almost all of the time, even when no one is watching.
The best kids I ever saw didn't have TV until after they entered school
Friday, April 02, 2004
Antidepressant drug use is up, especially among kids age 5 and younger.
The new numbers come from the databases of Express Scripts Inc., the third largest U.S. pharmacy benefit manager. The sample includes nearly 2 million kids aged 18 and younger covered by medical insurance from 1998 to 2002.
Teen girls are more likely to get antidepressants than any other group, but the fastest increase is among kids 5 years old and younger. For these children antidepressant use is up 100% to 0.16% of girls and up 62% to 0.23% of boys, says Tom Delate [pronounced DELL-at], PhD, Express Scripts' director of research.
"In teenagers, antidepressant use is really exploding," Delate tells WebMD. "Antidepressant use among the very young is increasing even more rapidly. Their rate of use is much lower than among older children -- but we're seeing a doubling of population using it."
Among the findings, reported in the April issue of Psychiatric Services:
* Overall child antidepressant use increased by 9.2% each year from 1998 to 2002.
* Antidepressant prescriptions are increasing faster for girls than for boys.
* Serotonin-specific reuptake inhibitors -- SSRIs such as Celexa, Luvox, Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft -- are more commonly prescribed for child patients than other antidepressants.
* Paxil use increased 113% in girls and 91% in boys from 1998 to 2002.
* Data show doctors prescribe antidepressants more for depression than for anxiety disorders.
Commentary Seen at Infoshop News
The January 6 execution of Charles Singleton, who was convicted of homicide and sentenced to death in 1979 in Arkansas, represents a great ethical quandary for psychiatry and its involvement in the criminal justice system, argues Alan A. Stone in a March Psychiatric Times commentary. The perception that Singleton's psychiatrist might have been facilitating an execution by prescribing Singleton psychiatric drugs is a grave ethical issue for Stone and the psychiatric profession. It's worth noting here what Stone doesn't consider to represent an ethical quandary for psychiatry.
Nowhere does Stone feel the need to concede that the power of the state, the State of Arkansas in this case, to coerce a jail inmate to take drugs and, hence, rationalize executing him, is a power that the psychiatric profession, in alliance with the mental health movement, has tirelessly lobbied for. It's coercive psychiatric treatment laws in and of themselves that are unethical. It is the alliance between psychiatry and state that is unethical in and of itself. We wouldn't even be having stupid debates about whether or not a drug can make a defendant understand the charges and proceedings against him if psychiatry wasn't so intertwined with the legal system today.
These issues invariably revolve around the insanity defense, another issue which inspires no debates about ethics among the psychoquacks.
The fact that an obviously guilty criminal defendant, like John Hinckley, can be exonerated for his criminal acts, in part because he says he was trying to impress actress Jodi Foster, does not raise an ethical quandary for psychiatry. When somebody like Hinckley, who committed his crime before many a television camera, copps the insanity plea, he'll find a line of psychoquacks from Seattle to San Francisco willing to testify on his behalf. In mental health law guilty people like Hinckley can be excused when they put up a successful insanity defense.
The fact that people like Hinckley are generally locked up and involuntarily treated is a footnote to this. The fact is they are excused for their actions. Meanwhile, innocent people not charged with crimes can be locked up by way of involuntary civil commitment.
This is the morally bankrupt world of mental health law and it sparks no debates about ethics among psychiatrists.
A former New York psychiatrist who maintained a medical practice at his High Falls home has plead guilty to charges he illegally sold thousands of prescriptions for depressants and narcotic drugs that were billed to Medicaid.
David Roemer, 44, of 1416 state Route 213, pleaded guilty Tuesday in state Supreme Court in the Bronx before Justice Phylis Bamberger to a charge of felony conspiracy. Roemer's plea was part of a negotiated plea deal. As part of the deal Roemer is expected to be sentenced May 7 to 3 to 10 years in prison.
Roemer and 33 other individuals were indicted in November 2003 on charges including criminal sale and possession of controlled substances, grand larceny and conspiracy, according to a press release from the state Attorney General's Office. The release said that by his plea Roemer admitted he was a key member of a conspiracy to defraud the Medicaid program and traffic in diverted medications worth millions of dollars on the street.
Roemer admitted that between May 2002 and November 2002 he unlawfully sold thousands of prescriptions for depressants and narcotic drugs to Medicaid recipients who were transported from New York City to his Ulster County practice by other members of the conspiracy, the release said. The prescriptions included ones for the addictive narcotic painkiller Percocet, the anti-anxiety drug Xanax, and OxyContin, a synthetic form of morphine.
An Albany, California psychologist may soon lose his license over accusations of sexual misconduct by a female patient.
Jeffrey Arthur LeRoux, 53, awaits a revocation hearing on claims that he "sexualized" his psychotherapy sessions with a woman who sought help in late 2002 for childhood sexual abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder. The alleged conduct included sucking her toes, and graduated to rubbing her genitals under the guise of "energy work," and to oral sex.
According to the allegations, LeRoux once disrobed himself and asked her to fondle him, saying it "was part of therapy, and they should imagine she was 3 years old and he was 5 years old."
His accuser, identified only by her initials, claims she tried to end contact with LeRoux, who was married, but he began coming to her home twice weekly to engage her in sexual activity. She complained last May to the state Board of Psychology. Last week, Administrative Law Judge Ruth Astle suspended his license pending the hearing.
LeRoux, a state-licensed psychologist since 1995 and a lecturer with San Francisco State's College of Extended Learning, could not be reached. His Oakland attorney, Robert Beles, said his client admits a sexual relationship, but denies a professional one.
A psychiatrist from The Woodlands plead guilty Thursday to receiving kickbacks for recommending unneeded motorized wheelchairs in a conspiracy to defraud Medicare and Medicaid of $16 million.
Dr. Lewis Gottlieb, 45, was one of seven people indicted in September on charges of bilking the government out of $5,000 on each unneeded or undelivered wheelchair. U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal ordered Gottlieb to forfeit $1.6 million held in his bank account.
Gottlieb is to be sentenced June 24 for conspiracy to commit health fraud, executing a health care fraud scheme and receiving kickback payments between October 2001 and May 2003. He could get five years in prison on the conspiracy charge, 10 years on the health fraud charge and five years on the kickback charge.