An interview on NPR with Howard Dully
If you saw me, you'd never know I had a lobotomy," says Howard Dully. "But I've always felt different, wondered if something's missing from my soul."
Developed by Dr. Walter Freeman, the transorbital lobotomy did not require drilling into the skull, as done in previous lobotomies. Instead Dr. Freeman used a medical instrument, shaped like an ice-pick to push up underneath the bone above the eyeball and sever the brain tissue in the pre-frontal lobes of the brain.
Dully, 56, spent two years searching for the story behind his "ice pick" lobotomy at age 12. He talks about his experience and how the medical community in the U.S. sometimes still uses brain surgery, also called psychosurgery, to treat mental illnesses.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
An interview on NPR with Howard Dully
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
An important scientific paper entitled
Serotonin and Depression: A Disconnect between the Advertisements and the Scientific Literature, available free and in full at the link.
to quote a particular relevant passage:
In short, there exists no rigorous corroboration of the serotonin theory, and a significant body of contradictory evidence. Far from being a radical line of thought, doubts about the serotonin hypothesis are well acknowledged by many researchers, including frank statements from prominent psychiatrists, some of whom are even enthusiastic proponents of SSRI medications (see Table 1).
However, in addition to what these authors say about serotonin, it is also important to look at what is not said in the scientific literature. To our knowledge, there is not a single peer-reviewed article that can be accurately cited to directly support claims of serotonin deficiency in any mental disorder, while there are many articles that present counterevidence.
Furthermore, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which is published by the American Psychiatric Association and contains the definitions of all psychiatric diagnoses, does not list serotonin as a cause of any mental disorder. The American Psychiatric Press Textbook of Clinical Psychiatry addresses serotonin deficiency as an unconfirmed hypothesis, stating, “Additional experience has not confirmed the monoamine depletion hypothesis”
In short, the marketeers are lying to us for the sake of profits. But the FDA seems to be implicated as well. To quote:
The FDA has sent ten warning letters to antidepressant manufacturers since 1997 [34–43], but has never cited a pharmaceutical company for the issues covered here. The reasons for their inaction are unclear but seem to result from a deliberate decision at some level of the FDA, rather than an oversight.
You can draw your own conclusions
Sunday, July 31, 2005
As Seen in the Worchester Telegram in Massachusetts
A judge has ruled the parents of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology student who committed suicide can continue their $27 million suit against college administrators and staff, a decision higher education officials criticized as unusually broad.
Elizabeth Shin died in 2000 after setting herself on fire in her dorm room.
Non-clinicians aren't usually held responsible for suicides, but Middlesex Superior Court Judge Christine McEvoy said Shin's housemaster and student life dean had a "special relationship" with her. That required them to protect her, McEvoy ruled, because they "could reasonably foresee that Elizabeth would hurt herself without proper supervision."
Sheldon Steinbach, general counsel of the American Council on Education, called the June 27 decision "an extraordinary stretch."
"I'm surprised the judge didn't find the president responsible, too," he told The Boston Globe. "How far are you going to go? Are the board of trustees liable because they should have known?"
McEvoy dismissed the claims against the university itself and dismissed some claims against the MIT employees. The remaining claims against four psychiatrists and two administrators will go to a jury trial. A pretrial conference in scheduled for September.
The lawyer for Shin's parents, Cho Hyun Shin and Kisuk Shin, praised McEvoy's decision.
"We believe it could have and would have turned out much differently for Elizabeth, had they chosen to respond to a known emergency situation," attorney David DeLuca said.
In a statement, MIT said Shin's death was a terrible tragedy, but "it was not the fault of MIT or anyone who works at MIT."
Suicide threats by Elizabeth Shin, of Livingston, N.J., were known to MIT before she killed herself on April 10, 2000. On that day, a group of administrators and psychiatrists discussed her case, including her statements to two students that she intended to commit suicide. One psychiatrist made an appointment for Shin for the next day at a psychiatric facility outside MIT.
McEvoy ruled the Shin family's lawyers had presented enough evidence to show their charges of gross negligence by MIT administrators were a legitimate issue because the administrators didn't enact "an immediate plan to respond to Elizabeth's escalating threats to commit suicide."
McEvoy's ruling is "very new ground," said Gary Pavela, director of judicial programs at the University of Maryland at College Park and the author of a newsletter for college administrators on law in higher education.
Pavela said a federal district court in Virginia found Ferrum College officials had a "special relationship" that gave them a duty to a student who committed suicide. But that case was settled out of court. In contrast, the Iowa Supreme Court in 2000 found no such duty toward a suicidal student, Pavela said.
Pavela said the legal uncertainty is upsetting college officials, and some are forcing students to go on medical leave at the first sign of any suicidal thoughts to avoid legal liability.
But Pavela said that's ethically wrong and illegal. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires schools to carefully consider the facts in an individual case before sending a student home, he said.
"If administrators overreact to these cases by routinely removing students, then they are jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire," he said.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Mother Jones has an extended article on the marketing of new diseases.
From a pharmaceutical company's perspective, the big money can be made not only by selling drugs to the sick, but by selling drugs to the healthy, the people who don't even know that they need drugs yet. A recent Reuters Business Insight report, designed for drug company executives, suggested that the drug companies can reap billions by "creat[ing] new disease markets." That involves convincing people that "problems they may previously have accepted as, perhaps, an inconvenience"—such as, for instance, the distress that can accompany PMS—are in fact "worthy of medical intervention." In other words, nothing short of the medicalization of everyday troubles. Cheerfully, the report believes that drug companies are up to the task: "The coming years will bear greater witness to the corporate sponsored creation of disease."
From this we get the marketing of psych drugs for new uses.
Consider this story. In 1998, Lilly, one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies, was on the verge of losing its patent on fluoxetine (more commonly known as Prozac) worth over $2 billion annually. However, if Lilly could find a new use for the drug, the patent could be extended. That year, Lilly helped fund a "roundtable" of researchers to gather in Washington D.C., along with staff from the Food and Drug Administration to discuss a scientifically controversial condition called "premenstrual dysphoric disorder" (PMDD), which had only recently, and after much controversy, been included in the appendix of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual—the bible of psychiatric disorders—as a disorder "under evaluation." But the Lilly-funded researchers soon published an article in a small medical journal suggesting, falsely, that the debate was over and that PMDD could now be considered a "distinct clinical entity," distinct from the stress and tension that can accompany ordinary PMS.
Lilly has not said what role it played in turning the "roundtable" into a journal article, but by 1999, the article helped convince the FDA to approve the use of fluoxetine to treat PMDD—and extended the patent until 2007. Lilly simply repackaged the drug in lavender pill-form, renamed it Serafem, and began marketing it to women. Never mind that independent researchers questioned whether PMDD even existed as a condition. Never mind that Europe's drug regulators raised serious questions about PMDD and criticized Lilly's clinical trials that purported to show the benefits of Serafem. Never mind that even the industry-friendly FDA was appalled at Lilly's television ads, with their too-vague tagline: "Think it's PMS? It could be PMDD." Undaunted, Lilly continued its advertising barrage, trying to convince women who thought they were experiencing regular PMS-related distress that, actually, they might well have a serious disorder that required heavy medication. Soon thereafter, both Pfizer and GSK got their own anti-depressants approved for treating PMDD. For all intents and purposes, the "debate" over whether PMDD was a disorder—let alone requiring medication with serious side-effects—was over. Industry money had carried the day.
Sunday, July 17, 2005
A prominent San Mateo child psychiatrist has reached a confidential lawsuit settlement with a former patient who accused Dr. William Ayres of repeatedly molesting him when he was a 13-year-old boy in the late 1970s.
The settlement was submitted to San Mateo County Presiding Judge George Miram on Tuesday, the day after a civil trial was scheduled to begin.
The settlement was confirmed by Robert Tobin, an attorney for the now-40- year-old former patient, and by Ayres' attorney, Donald Putterman. Neither side would reveal the terms.
Putterman said that Ayres "hotly disputed" the allegations against him. "Hotly disputed cases are often settled,'' Putterman said. In reaching the settlement, "nobody conceded anything,'' he added.
Filed in December, the lawsuit cast a cloud over the high-profile career of Ayres, a past president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
The patient, who alleged the molestation incidents occurred in 1977-78, did not come forward to police until decades later. Meanwhile, the San Mateo County court system continued to refer young boys who were either victims of abuse or juvenile offenders to Ayres for treatment.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Almost 30 million prescriptions for Ritalin and similar drugs to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were written last year in the United States; 23 million were for children. While these drugs are among the most widely prescribed medicines in the world, they also remain one of the most controversial.
The latest chapter in the debate over the safety of ADHD drugs: The Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) investigation regarding a link between Ritalin and cancer -- based on a small University of Texas study.
The findings showed damage to the chromosomes of 12 children who had taken Ritalin for three months. A grant proposal is in the works at the NIH to fund a much larger probe in 2006, involving many more patients and a variety of drugs.
See the story as reported in Forbes Magazine. There obviously some people in a major panic over this
Thursday, June 09, 2005
As seen on BlogCritic,
The Nazis invented the worst thing ever: the assembly-line death factory. But they also invented something else, perhaps the only legacy of theirs that endures to this very day. During World War II, Hitler's war machine created the world's first sex doll: Borghild.
Psychiatrist Dr. Rudolf Chargeheimer wrote the following note as the project went forward:
”The sure thing, purpose and goal of the dolls is to relieve our soldiers. They have to fight and not be on the browl or mingle with 'foreign womenfolk.' However: no real men will prefer a doll to a real woman, until our technicians meet the following quality standards:
The synthetic flesh has to feel the same as real flesh;
The doll’s body should be as agile and moveable as the real body;
The doll’s organ should feel absolutely realistic.”
Between June 1940 – 1941, IG Farben had already developed a number of ”skin-friendly polymers” for the SS. Their special characteristics: high-tensile strength and elasticity.
The cast of a suitable model proved to be more difficult. Borghild was meant to reflect the beauty-ideal of the Nazis: white skin, fair hair and blue eyes. Although the team considered a doll with brown hair, the SS Hygiene Institute insisted on manufacturing a ”Nordish doll.” Tschakert hoped to plaster-cast from a living model. A number of famous female athletes were invited to come to his studios.
But in a letter to Mrurgowsky, Tschakert came to this conclusion: ”Sometimes the legs are too short and look deformed, or the lady has a hollow back and arms, like a wrestler. The overall appearance is always dreadful and I fear there is no other way than to combine.” While Mrurgowsky still favoured a ”whole imprint” of prevailing diva Kristina Söderbaum, the Borghild-designer decided to build the doll’s mold in a ”modular way,” taking bits and pieces from different women. In Tschakert's view, the doll should be nothing less than a ”female best-form,” a ”perfect automaton of lust,” that would combine ”the best of all possible bodies.” The team agreed on a cheeky and naughty face, a look-a-like of actress Käthe von Nagy, but she politely declined to lend her face to Tschakert’s doll.
After Mrurgowsky’s exit, Dr. Hannussen took over, and rejected the idea to cast a face from a living person. He believed in an ”artificial face of lust,” which would be more attractive to soldiers. ”The doll has only one purpose and she should never become a substitute for the honourable mother at home ... When the soldier makes love to Borghild, it has nothing to do with love. Therefore the face of our anthropomorphic sex machine should be exactly like the common wanton’s face.”
Something strangely twisted, another fine legacy of modern psychiatry
Monday, June 06, 2005
A care worker from a notorious mental home here used to unleash feral dogs in the facility so that he could terrorize patients and ease his workload, sources told the Mainichi newspaper in Japan.
Shigemi Sudo, the care worker who has already been arrested for assaulting patients at the infamous Caritas no Ie mental home, is also accused of allowing the feral dogs to bite some patients' legs and buttocks.
Home officials are alleged to have been informed of Sudo's purported activities, but refused to take action against him.
Several sources have attested to the claims.
"It causes a lot of work for officials if patients get out of their rooms and start to panic, so Sudo seems to have used the dogs like watchdogs that would keep the patients from leaving their rooms," a former Caritas no Ie official told the Mainichi on condition of anonymity.
Several sources said that starting about five years ago, three feral dogs roamed around outside the grounds of the mental home. Sudo, 54, befriended the dogs, feeding them and giving them attention.
About three years ago, the sources allege, Sudo started bringing the dogs into the home when he was on duty.
Sudo did not keep the wild dogs on a leash. There were several reported instances from January to March last year when the feral dogs bit patients.
Patients were terrified of Sudo and his dogs, the sources said. When Sudo was on duty, patients would typically shut themselves up in their rooms and not come out.
Sudo knew which patients were most frightened by the feral dogs. When he approached these patients, there were times when he would deliberately make the dogs go closer to the terrified patient, the sources said.
When a patient was late at mealtime, Sudo would confiscate their meal and feed it to his dogs, the sources said.
Guardians of some patients learned of what Sudo had allegedly been doing and complained to Caritas no Ie operators. Operators did not deny the allegations, but said they could not punish Sudo because if he were fired they would not be able to find anybody else to perform his duties. (Mainichi)
Friday, May 27, 2005
As seen on www.nomorefakenews.com , by JON RAPPOPORT
For the past year, I've been receiving communications from a practicing American psychiatrist, who has an office in the southeastern US. He sees patients privately and also works at a large hospital. Increasingly, this man has been expressing doubts about the drugs he has been prescribing.
Now, he has blown the lid off his own profession, and it appears he is ready to switch careers or become an alternative practitioner.
Here is an excerpt from our recent conversation:
Q: Why do you doubt the drugs?
A: They're toxic and injurious.
Q: Which ones?
A: All of them.
Q: And in particular?
A: The antidepressants. Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, and so on. They are not showing, on balance, good results, and patients have been experiencing adverse effects.
Q: Such as?
A: Sleeplessness, nightmares, erratic behavior, highs and lows, crashes, attempts to commit suicide, exacerbated depression, violence, dramatic personality changes.
Q: Why do you think this is happening?
A: To be honest, I don't know. But my sense is, in general, that the drugs interfere in unpredictable ways with various neurotransmitter systems. I also believe they can work extreme changes in blood sugar levels and electrolyte levels. You know, it's not hard to create these effects with chemicals. The body is not able to integrate them in its normal functioning. I would compare it to suddenly setting up all sorts of roadblocks and detours and forced lane changes on a busy highway. You will get big trouble.
Q: Have you tried to communicate your concerns to colleagues and medical groups?
A: For a short time, I did. But I was given the cold shoulder. I got the distinct feeling I was being treated like some wayward child who had his facts all wrong.
Q: Who do you blame for this drugging catastrophe?
A: At the moment, everybody. The doctors, the drug companies, the FDA, the psychiatric teaching institutions, even the press. And at some point, patients are going to have to take responsibility and not follow the orders of their doctors.
Q: Do you believe that doctors should cut back and give the drugs to some people and not others?
A: That sounds good, but there is no way to know what effects the drugs will cause in any given individual, especially as time passes. Even in the short term, I have seen some frightening things.
Q: Do you believe the profession of psychiatry has made some kind of overarching deal with the drug companies?
A: Yes. The drug companies are everywhere. They stick their noses into everyone's business.
Q: What lies about the drugs have you had to purge from your own mind?
A: The main one is that they're some kind of miracle breakthrough. Another one is that I can rely on the judgments and certifications of the FDA. We're playing Russian Roulette out here. It's a very dangerous situation.
Q: Do you believe that some of the school shootings have resulted from children being on the antidepressants?
A: I didn't, until one day a sixteen-year-old patient of mine showed up for his appointment with a 9mm hand gun. Then I began to comb back through reports on a bunch of those shootings. I can tell you, it focuses the mind to see a young patient sitting across from you---you've put him on an antidepressant and now he's talking about "a new day" and he takes the gun out of his pocket and lays it on a table next to him by the Kleenex. You think to yourself, "I may have created a killer and his first victim could be me." People want to outlaw all guns. I'd start with the drugs.
Q: How about the diagnosis of depression itself?
A: I've come to realize that you can't do an interview with a patient and then come out with a shorthand assessment. It's wrong. It reduces all sorts of problems down to a label, and then you have your official gateway into the drugs.
Q: Your colleagues think you're over-reacting?
A: I think I'm under-reacting. I think we have an epidemic on our hands, but it has nothing to do with mental disorders. It has to do with the chemicals we're facilitating.
Q: This boy with the gun---were you able to talk him down?
A: I spent two hours with him that day. I told him he was having a reaction to the drug. At first, it made no sense to him. He was on a manic sort of ride. That really scared me---that I couldn't make him see what was happening to him. He was in the middle of an episode and he couldn't stand outside it. Finally, he eased up a little. He began to weep in my office. It wasn't really crying. Tears just ran down his cheeks while he was talking. He didn't seem to notice them. He had almost stopped being human. He was a...creature. He was on a mission of some kind. His view of the world had totally changed. In his mind set, destruction was the only course of action.
Q: And then?
A: He calmed down a little. I was afraid to ask him for the gun. He just picked it up and put it back in his pocket. After he left, I called his mother. She went home from her job and met him. I had asked her to call the police but she wouldn't. Later, she told me she sat and talked with him for a long time and then he handed over the gun. It was a very tense situation. I had her remove the bottle of pills from her medicine cabinet. Then I had to follow up. I weaned him slowly from the drug. It took two months. He finally sort of returned to being the person he was. Even then I wasn't sure he'd be okay. He was definitely addicted to the drug. Luckily, I didn't cut him off suddenly. He might have killed people during the withdrawal cycle.
Q: Did you continue to see this boy as a patient?
A: I did a nutritional assessment with the help of a doctor who is very good with that. We found the boy was having strange reactions to certain soft drinks that have speed-type boosters in them. We gradually weaned him off them. Then we discovered he was reacting to dyes and other chemicals in junk food. So we had to change his diet. That wasn't easy.
Q: He was addicted in several ways to chemicals.
A: That's right. There was peer pressure for him to keep eating junk. All his friends did. They called him weird for going off the food they were eating every day. Finally, I discovered that, five years before I saw him, he'd been on Ritalin for a year. You know, for ADHD. He'd been driven into depression by that. He basically felt, at eleven, that his life was over. All paths and interests were closed to him.
Q: How is he now?
A: Much better. But he's not all the way back.
Q: Do you think there is permanent brain damage?
A: I don't know. He's now living outside the US with his father. I get reports once in awhile.
Q: How does he feel about his own experience?
A: He wants it to be an example to other families.
Q: You didn't go into medicine to deal with this.
A: No. In school, my ideals were high. But I allowed myself to be led down the garden path. I fell for the sales pitch. I'm telling you, this is not a good situation. We are a society on the brink. Something has to be done.
Q: How do you feel about Bush's mental health screening program for all children?
A: All in all, it may turn out to be the worst thing he's done as president. It's just a tip of his hat to his pharmaceutical supporters. But the consequences---if this plan gets rolling---will be devastating.
Q: Is there some underlying principle at work here? Some paradigm that everyone is accepting that is putting us into a bad situation?
A: You know the answer to that. It's the combination of easy diagnosis plus the drug fix. The pill craze for everything. Take a drug and everything will work out. I see it as the classic street-drug promotion. Feel good. Take this drug and you'll feel different and better. Combine that with the basic immaturity of most people and you have the interlock. Why work out your problems and strive to have the life you want when you can arrive at the best destination with a pill? I'd take this a step further. If you stacked up all the tranquilizers and antidepressants, for adults, next to, say, marijuana, as a way of dealing with stress, I'd say that a very modest amount of a mild marijuana would be more successful than all those other drugs at the levels they're normally prescribed. If I were forced to recommend one or the other, I'd go with the marijuana. And I'd say the drug companies know this. Which is one reason why, in the US, the enforcement on marijuana has been stepping up. But again, you're always dealing with an individual. Each person is different. I've seen people who react very badly to pot. It affects them like a psychedelic.
Q: You're saying the science behind the antidepressants is false.
A: Absolutely. Judging by the effects of the drugs, it has to be. It may sound good and proper. All the right words are used. But I don't care about that anymore. I go by results. My eyes have been opened.
Q: Then why are the drug companies pushing these drugs?
A: I'm not an expert to speak to about that. Certainly there is the profit motive. But I think there is also the myth of progress.
Q: What do you mean?
A: That myth states that technology must keep making advances. It's the legend of forward motion. If technology is to be seen as good, it has to keep turning out better advances---otherwise something is wrong. And there can't be anything wrong.
Q: It's like a hectic race.
A: Yes. If you stop, you might fall down. Secrets might be exposed. Shortcomings might show up. So you have to keep pushing. You have to keep saying you're doing better and better. I'm sure you can see where this gets you. You make new mistakes to cover up old mistakes. You become careless. You lie. You hire promotion people to tout your work. You keep the whole thing rolling forward, no matter what. That's where we are.
Q: And you were carried on that wave.
A: For many years. But now I've stopped.
Q: Is it uncomfortable?
A: Not so much anymore. But at first I was very upset and angry. I was blaming everyone but myself. I felt like I was in chains, that my whole education and career were at stake. And I was my career. What else did I have? Getting off the boat was quite difficult. I had every advantage this society has to offer. I was---
Q: The expert.
A: Yes. That's a powerful feeling. People come to you with questions and you have the answers. If you don't, then you're thrown down in the pit with everyone else. Part of being a doctor is being above the pit, out of the problem. You're the solution. You don't want to fall. And the only thing that keeps you from falling is what you've learned. Your knowledge. When you see that that's based on lies, you don't know what to do. It's like being a priest and realizing that everyone gets to the far shore by his own means. You don't want to let go of the doctrine that put you on the pulpit.
Q: So what would a new paradigm look like?
A: For mental health? We have to get rid of all the old classsifications and disorders. We have to let all that sink into oblivion. That was wrong. That was largely fantasy.
Q: It was a story.
A: We told it, and now we have to stop telling it. Because we've ended up intervening in people's lives in a very pernicious way.
Q: Part of the story necessitated that kind of intervention.
A: Yes. And, not to take myself off the hook, but people want that kind of story, as you say. They want that "expert story." They want someone else to come in and tell them what to do and what to think and what drug to take.
Q: Why do you think that is?
A: Because people have taken the easy path. They have opted for what I would call a flat version of reality. If they started adding dimensions on their own---
Q: They would be forced to tell their own story.
A: In the terms you're using, yes. That's what would happen.
Q: And how would society look then?
A: Much different. Much more risky, perhaps, but much more alive. Psychology and psychiatry don't allow for that kind of outcome. All mental disorders are constructs. They're named by committees, as I'm sure you know. They're a form of centralized pattern. In this context, the word "shrink" is very appropriate. That's what we've been doing. Shrinking down the perception of what reality and the mind are all about.
Q: Can you imagine what would happen if the lid were taken off?
A: I work with that idea every day now.
Q: And how does it look?
A: More and more appealing.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
“Journals have devolved into information laundering operations for the pharmaceutical industry”, wrote Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet, in March 2004 . In the same year, Marcia Angell, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, lambasted the industry for becoming “primarily a marketing machine” and co-opting “every institution that might stand in its way” . Medical journals were conspicuously absent from her list of co-opted institutions, but she and Horton are not the only editors who have become increasingly queasy about the power and influence of the industry. Jerry Kassirer, another former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, argues that the industry has deflected the moral compasses of many physicians , and the editors of PLoS Medicine have declared that they will not become “part of the cycle of dependency…between journals and the pharmaceutical industry” . Something is clearly up.
As published in the PLOS Journal of Medicine
Friday, May 13, 2005
Even Russia seems to be reformimg their mental health institutions, as seen in this BBC report
In Russia's psychiatric institutions known as "internats", there is not much in the way of facilities or medical care, and as Oleg Boldyrev has discovered, most of the inmates will never be able to leave. On the edge of Pervouralsk, a small town in the Urals, past the brick-making plant, the streets get smaller, the tarmac turns to dirt and the wooden houses give way to tall spruce trees.
Then, all of a sudden, you are confronted by a long grey building, four storeys high. It is an "internat", a final destination for thousands of people who are mentally ill, have learning difficulties or who simply have nowhere else to go. Once you are here, it is almost invariably forever.
Internats are supposed to offer psycho-neurological treatment, but that is not really the case. They do not come under a medical authority and so are chronically short of nurses and doctors. There is little treatment on offer.
Reform is coming. The article mentions one bright spot, but it is still just a drop in the bucket.
Sunday, May 01, 2005
On the similarity of the names of common psych medications to the traditional names of medieval demons
As a novelty, Occult researcher Tim Boulton has noted the similarity of the names of common psych medications to the traditional names of medieval demons. Of course, this is all just a coincidence. Isn't it? Here's an excerpt:
take a look at some of the names of [...] demons... here's just a sampling:
So yeah, I was just thinking about how similar those are to the names of different drugs made by pharmaceutical heavyweights like Pfizer and Lilly. Examples:
The sounds of them are virtually the same. Interesting, right? Also interesting to compare and contrast what these drugs do: assert control over certain portions of the brain (and body) for some specific ends. And just like traditional demons, these drugs have nasty side effects, like addiction (possession) and stuff like blood in your stool or depression, or you name it. It's all very suspicious to me, the similarities here. It's also fun to blend the terminology from the two camps, and imagine some black magician invoking brand name drugs:
"Oh mighty Lord Zoloft, bestow your blessings upon me. I am your humble servant."
"By the flaming sword of Prozac Infernus, I banish thee to the depths!"
Friday, April 29, 2005
As seen in an Introduction to a Commentary published on Yuba Net
At an FDA hearing on the safety of psychotropic drugs on Feb 2, 2004, dozens of tortured parents testified that their children had committed suicide or other violent acts after being prescribed the same drugs that are being marketed in the Bush-backed pharmaceutical industry schemes aimed at recruiting the nations 52 million school children as customers.
In July 2003, the Bush appointed New Freedoms Commission on Mental Health (NFC) recommended screening all children for mental illness and designated TeenScreen as a model program to ensure that every student receives a mental health check-up before finishing high school.
The NFC also has a preferred drug program in place modeled after the Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP), that lists what drugs are to be used on children found to be mentally ill.
The list contains every drug that people complained about at the FDA hearing, including Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, Wellbutron, Zyban, Remeron, Serzone, Effexor, Buspar, Risperdal, Zyprexa, Seroqual, Geodone, Depakote, Adderall, and Prozac.
There is little if any evidence that these drugs work on children but nevertheless, an estimated 10 million children in the US are now taking these mind-altering drugs even though they have documented side-effects including suicidal ideation, mania, psychosis, and future drug dependence.
Saturday, April 23, 2005
In addition to use by millions of people with epilepsy, anti-seizure drugs are becoming widely used to treat psychiatric illnesses such as bipolar disorder -- also called manic depression -- as well as pain and other conditions. Some epilepsy drugs have FDA approval for various other uses, while others are prescribed "off-label."
Prompted in part by an attorney's claims against the leading anticonvulsant, Neurontin, the FDA last month asked makers of all epilepsy medicines to reanalyze research studies done with the drugs to see if there is any evidence of increased suicide risk, particularly those who use them for psychiatric illnesses instead of seizure prevention.
It's the same type of analysis that the FDA last year ordered for antidepressants amid controversy over their use by children and teenagers -- and ultimately those drugs were linked to an increase in suicidal thoughts and actions in young patients.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Two women have filed lawsuits claiming a psychologist at an Illinois hospital used witchcraft during treatments and threatened patients. The lawsuits allege Delnor-Community Hospital did not stop the unorthodox treatments. One seeks more than $50,000 and the other more than $1 million.
Neither is seeking damages from the psychologist, who has not worked at the hospital since January, because of a fear of retribution from the woman, the plaintiffs' attorney told the Arlington Heights (Ill.) Daily Herald. One suit was filed in Kane County, Ill., court and the other in federal court.
One of the plaintiffs alleges while undergoing treatment for a neurological syndrome, she was taught spells and told to divorce her husband. She moved in with the psychologist and allegedly was forced to take care of the house and take nude pictures of the psychologist.
The other suit alleges the psychologist told the patients to strip and commit acts of self-mutilation and join a Wicca coven, the newspaper said.
The newspaper said the accused psychologist did not respond to calls for comment. The hospital said the complaints have been reported to police and state health regulators.
The full report from the Daily Herald follows:
St. Charles woman files suit in hospital witchcraft case
By Tona Kunz
Daily Herald Staff Writer
Posted Tuesday, April 12, 2005
A third person has claimed that a former St. Charles psychologist used witchcraft on her and shared private medical details between patients.
Kathleen Carlson of St. Charles filed a lawsuit late Friday against Delnor-Community Hospital in Geneva, claiming that the hospital failed to monitor Leitita Libman, a psychologist working at the hospital from 1994 until January 2005.
The lawsuit is the third in as many weeks filed against the hospital claiming Libman used witchcraft under the guise of therapy.
None of the suits have been filed against Libman because of fear of retribution, said Richard Stavins, a Chicago attorney representing the women in two Kane County lawsuits and one federal lawsuit.
Libman is accused of threatening family members of the women, bragging about being an expert in poison and pulling a gun on one of the women.
Libman could not be reached for comment Monday, but previously in a published report denied the allegations or bringing religion of any type into therapy.
“Libman’s statement that it never happened is just absolute nonsense,” Stavins said. “I can understand her arguing that one person made it up, but three? No way.”
Delnor officials declined to comment on the specifics of the lawsuits because of employee and patient privacy laws, but said that Libman stopped working at the hospital in January 2005 shortly after the hospital investigated a patient complaint against her.
“We take complaints of this nature extremely seriously,” said hospital spokesman Brian Griffin.
Delnor reported Libman to the Geneva police and the Illinois Department of Professional Regulations. State officials would not confirm if an investigation into Libman is ongoing.
The lawsuits claim that Libman tried to treat the women’s depression and chronic pain with spells, pentagrams and the freeing of sexual inhibitions.
In the previous two suits from a former Woodstock native and another woman from Kane County, who asked to have her hometown anonymous, Libman is accused of trying to get the women to join her Wiccan coven.
That has angered area Wiccan practitioners who say that the accusations leveled at Libman do not meet the guidelines of the God and Goddess-based pagan religion. The religion has a harm-none tenet at odds with claims of orgies, threats and violent spells.
The newest lawsuit claims Libman used what she called witchcraft, but does not mention Wiccan connections.
The new lawsuit also stands out for its allegations that Libman said she was a superior being brought to Earth in a spaceship and that she tried to have Carlson falsely committed when Carlson disagreed with her.
Carlson is asking for more than $50,000 in damages for her care under Libman at the hospital’s St. Charles campus between September 2002 and January 2005 when her depression and arthritis worsened.
“This kind of outrageous care makes everything worse,” Stavins said.
If it weren't for the outrageous nature of the offenses, there are any number of Witty remarks that could be made.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
As seen in the Preventive Psychiatry E-Newsletter # 184 By Thomas Armstrong 4-7-05
Over the past ten years, attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has emerged from the relative obscurity of cognitive psychologists, research laboratories to become the "disease du jour" of America's schoolchildren. Accompanying this popularity has been a virtually complete acceptance of the validity of this "disorder" by scientists, physicians, psychologists, educators, parents, and others. Upon closer critical scrutiny, however, there is much to be troubled about concerning ADD/ADHD as a real medical diagnosis.
There is no definitive objective set of criteria to determine who has ADD/ADHD and who does not. Rather, instead, there are a loose set of behaviors (hyperactivity, distractibility, and impulsivity) that combine in different ways to give rise to the "disorder." These behaviors are highly context-dependent. A child may be hyperactive while seated at a desk doing a boring worksheet, but not necessarily while singing in a school musical. These behaviors are also very general in nature and give no clue as to their real origins. A child can be hyperactive because he's bored, depressed, anxious, allergic to milk, creative, a hands-on learner, has a difficult temperament, is stressed out, is driven by a media-mad culture, or any number of other possible causes. The tests that have been used to determine if someone has ADD/ADHD are either artificially objective and remote from the lives of real children (in one test, a child is asked to press a button every time he sees a 1 followed by a 9 on a computer screen) , or hopelessly subjective (many rating scales ask parents and teachers to score a child's behavior on a scale from 1 to 5: these scores depend upon the subjective attitudes more than the actual behaviors of the children involved).
The treatments used for this supposed disorder are also problematic. Ritalin use is up 500% over the past six years, yet it does not cure the problem, it only masks symptoms, and there are several disadvantages: children don,t like taking it, children use it as an "excuse" for their behavior ("I hit Ed because I forgot to take my pill."), and there are some indications it may be related to later substance abuse of drugs like cocaine. Behavior modification programs used for kids labeled ADD/ADHD work, but they don,t help kids become better learners. In fact, they may interfere with the development of a child's intrinsic love of learning (kids behave simply to get more rewards), they may frustrate some kids (when they don,t get expected rewards), and they can also impair creativity and stifle cooperation.
ADD/ADHD is a popular diagnosis in the 1990's because it serves as a neat way to explain away the complexities of turn-of-the-millenium life in America. Over the past few decades, our families have broken up, respect for authority has eroded, mass media has created a "short-attention-span culture," and stress levels have skyrocketed.
When our children start to act out under the strain, it's convenient to create a scientific-sounding term to label them with, an effective drug to stifle their "symptoms," and a whole program of ADD/ADHD workbooks, videos, and instructional materials to use to fit them in a box that relieves parents and teachers of any worry that it might be due to their own failure (or the failure of the broader culture) to nurture or teach effectively.
Mainly, the ADD/ADHD label is a tragic decoy that takes the focus off of where it's needed most: the real life of each unique child. Instead of seeing each child for who he or she is (strengths, limitations, interests, temperaments, learning styles etc.) and addressing his or her specific needs, the child is reduced to an "ADD child," where the potential to see the best in him or her is severely eroded (since ADD/ADHD puts all the emphasis on the deficits, not the strengths), and where the number of potential solutions to help them is highly limited to a few child-controlling interventions.
Instead of this deficit-based ADD/ADH paradigm, I,d like to suggest a wellness-based holistic paradigm that sees each child in terms of his or her ultimate worth, and addresses each child's unique needs. To do this, we need to provide a wide range of options for parents or teachers.
50 Ways to Improve Your Child's Behavior and Attention Span without Drugs, Labels, or Coercion (for detailed information about each way, see The Myth of the A.D.D. Child
Order book by calling: 1-800-247-6553.
1. Provide a balanced breakfast.
2. Consider the Feingold diet
3. Limit television and video games
4. Teach self-talk skills.
5. Find out what interests your child.
6. Promote a strong physical education program in your child's school.
7. Enroll your child in a martial arts program.
8. Discover your child's multiple intelligences (link)
9. Use background music to focus and calm.
10. Use color to highlight information.
11. Teach your child to visualize.
12. Remove allergens from the diet.
13. Provide opportunities for physical movement.
14. Enhance your child's self-esteem.
15. Find your child's best times of alertness.
16. Give instructions in attention-grabbing ways.
17. Provide a variety of stimulating learning activities.
18. Consider biofeedback training.
19. Activate positive career aspirations.
20. Teach your child physical-relaxation techniques.
21. Use incidental learning to teach.
22. Support full inclusion of your child in a regular classroom.
23. Provide positive role models.
24. Consider alternative schooling options.
25. Channel creative energy into the arts.
26. Provide hands-on activities
27. Spend positive times together.
28. Provide appropriate spaces for learning.
29. Consider individual psychotherapy.
30. Use touch to soothe and calm.
31. Help your child with organizational skills.
32. Help your child appreciate the value of personal effort.
33. Take care of yourself.
34. Teach your child focusing techniques.
35. Provide immediate feedback.
36. Provide your child with access to a computer.
37. Consider family therapy.
38. Teach problem-solving skills.
39. Offer your child real-life tasks to do.
40. Use "time-out" in a positive way.
41. Help your child develop social skills.
42. Contract with your child.
43. Use effective communication skills.
44. Give your child choices.
45. Discover the treat the four types of misbehavior.
46. Establish consistent rules, routines, and transitions.
47. Hold family meetings.
48. Have your child teach a younger child.
49. Use natural and logical consequences.
50. Hold a positive image of your child.
The Myth of the ADD Child: 50 Ways to Improve Your Child's Behavior and Attention Span without Drugs, Labels, or Coercion. New York: Plume, 1997.
To Empower, Not Control!: A Holistic Approach to ADD/ADHD, Reaching Today's Youth, Winter, 1998.
ADD as a Social Invention," Education Week, October 18, 1995.
Labels Can Last a Lifetime," Learning, May/June, 1996.
Why I Believe Attention Deficit Disorder is a Myth," Sydney's Child [Australia], September, 1996.
Divoky, Diane and Peter Schrag. The Myth of the Hyperactive Child. New York: Pantheon, 1975.
Goodman, Gay, and Mary Jo Poillon. "ADD: Acronym for Any Dysfunction or Difficulty,"
Journal of Special Education, Vol. 26, No. 1, 1992.
Griss, Susan. Minds in Motion: A Kinesthetic Approach to Teaching Elementary Curriculum.Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1998.
Kohn, Alfie. "Suffer the Restless Children," Atlantic Monthly, November, 1989, pp. 90-100.
McGuinness, Diane. When Children Don't Learn. New York: Basic, 1985.
Merrow, John. " Attention Deficit Disorder: A Dubious Diagnosis," (Video). The Merrow Report, 588 Broadway, Suite 510, New York, NY 10012,212-941-8060; 212-941-8068 (fax).
Patterson, Marilyn Nikimaa. Every Body Can Learn: Engaging the Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence in the Everyday Classroom. Tucson, AZ: Zephyr Press, 1997.
Reid, Robert, John W. Maag, and Stanley F. Vasa, "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder as a Disability Category: A Critique," Exceptional Children, Vol. 60, No. 3, pp. 198-214.
Friday, March 25, 2005
The Story of the death of a child due to Ritalin, as told by a parent.
My name is Lawrence Smith; I am here to let you know about the death of our fourteen-Year-old Son Matthew. He died on March 21, 2000. The cause was determined to be from the long- term (age 7-14) use of Methylphenidate a medication commonly known as Ritalin.
The Certificate of Death under due to, (or because of) reads. Death caused from Long Term Use of Methylphenidate, (Ritalin). According to Dr. Ljuba Dragovic, The chief pathologist at the Oakland County Medical Examiners office in Michigan said upon autopsy, Matthew's heart showed clear signs of small vessel damage, the type caused by stimulant drugs like amphetamines.
The medical examiners told me that a full-grown man's heart weighs about 350 grams and that Matthew's heart weight was about 402 grams.
Matthew did not have a preexisting heart disease
As reported on News Target.com
Believe it or not, until recently, it has been perfectly legal for schools to force schoolchildren to be put on psychoactive mind-altering drugs as a condition of attending that school. That is, the school administrator or counselor could insist that a certain child be dosed with mind-altering drugs. It sounds bizarre, but it was absolutely true until just recently.
Finally, Congress has passed legislation that bans schools from forcing parents to drug their children for behavioral problems. This law was even signed by President Bush, believe it or not.
Now you may think that, gee, this wasn't a problem, I never heard about this. But in fact it was a huge problem. There have been many cases where children were denied an education because their parents refused to put them on narcotic stimulants, antidepressants and other drugs that we now know cause violent behavior and increased risk of suicide. There were schools actually forcing parents to put their children on drugs that would cause aggressive behavior and suicidal thoughts.
And, in extreme cases, these drugs actually caused or contributed to the kind of mass murders like we saw in Columbine where the two high school students picked up assault rifles, went to school, and blew away teachers and classmates. These two kids were on antidepressant drugs -- it's still one of the most censored stories of the last decade.
Thursday, March 24, 2005
The 16-year-old Minnesota outsider who killed nine people before taking his own life on Monday was being treated with the controversial anti-depressant Prozac. The revelation yesterday by Jeff Weise's aunts, Shauna and Tammy Luscher, on CBS News' "The Early Show" revived the debate over whether such drugs induce homicidal and suicidal thoughts in children and teens.
Eric Harris, one of the teen gunmen in the infamous Columbine massacre in 1999, had been prescribed Prozac, as had Kip Kinkel, who killed his parents and classmates at Thurston High School in Oregon in 1998.
His grandmother, Shelda Lussier, 54, said he saw a mental health professional at Red Lake Hospital on Feb. 21, the same day his prescription was refilled for 60 milligrams a day of Prozac, which he had been taking since last summer, the Washington Post reported.
Studies have linked Prozac and similar antidepressants to a greater risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in kids. In October, the Food and Drug Administration revised the drugs' packaging to warn health professionals that they should closely monitor young patients when an antidepressant is prescribed or the dose is changed. Prozac proponents maintain that that association is all just a bad coincidence
Friday, March 18, 2005
Congress and President Bush apparently think that a lot of children have a "mental health" problem. Or that enough of them do to justify taking millions of dollars from taxpayers to fund a universal "mental health screening" for children, and eventually for everyone.
Personally, I think -- from the perspective of a person who never had any -- that almost all children act crazy. Those who don't are, by definition, abnormal, because they don't act like the others.
The main problem with about half of them is that they are boys. Such children are obviously made of snips and snails and puppy dog tails. On the farm there is a solution for that: a procedure for turning boy lambs into non-ram lambs. After a quick little operation, they act like peaceful little lambs instead of aggressive, disruptive rams.
We don't do surgery like that on little boys, of course, but we do have our methods: such as behavioral therapy and chemicals. [...]
Teams of experts are awaiting the infusion of cash. They'll be ensconced in your child's school before you even know it. A bonus is that your little darlings will probably give them quite a bit of information about you also, and then you too can receive therapy you didn't know you needed.
Do you sometimes raise your voice? Ever spank them? Hug them inappropriately? Have politically incorrect attitudes? Use forbidden words? Own a gun? Smoke cigarettes, especially indoors? Read extremist literature? Refuse to recycle? Prepare for a knock on the door.
As Seen in the UPI Article
Outside View: Are your children crazy?
By Jane Orient, M.D.
Outside View Commentato
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
The Alliance for Human Research Protection (AHRP) is a national network of lay people and professionals dedicated to advancing responsible and ethical medical research practices, to ensure that the human rights, dignity and welfare of human subjects are protected, and to minimize the risks associated with such endeavors.
Over the past decade, the explosion of biomedical research has not been accompanied by an effective system of oversight or enforcement to protect those who volunteer. A body of well-documented evidence shows that in numerous instances the rights of human subjects have been violated. Unsuspecting research volunteers have sometimes suffered grievous injuries and even preventable death.
The causes are clear:
- Research is increasingly driven by commercial concerns.
- Conflicts of Interest are ubiquitous.
- Disclosure of risks may be incomplete.
- Regulatory safeguards have been violated.
Lax oversight by Institutional Review Boards has failed to prevent ethical violations even at major research institutions (e.g., University of Rochester, University of Pennsylvania, Duke University, University of Oklahoma, Johns Hopkins University, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, Harvard University, and the National Institutes of Health).
This year, more than 15 million Americans will be recruited into clinical trials.
The AHRP mission is to stand up - and speak out - for the human rights of research subjects of human experiments, especially those who are vulnerable and /or susceptible to manipulation and exploitation. Those who are incapable of exercising their right to informed consent are in greatest need of protection from research abuse
- children (some as young as preschool age),
- elderly residents of nursing homes, and others with impaired reasoning capacity, and
- people suffering from a disabling mental illness.
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
As seen in this report, a pychotic criminal who was inside the Broadmoor secure mental hospital in Britain [for a hideous crime which included cannibalism] was being assessed for a possible return to the community by the mental health esperts there.
The court was told that the mental health system had let the public down after Bryan was released from Rampton special hospital where he was sent after the manslaughter of shop assistant Nisha Sheth, in Chelsea, in 1993.
Aftab Jafferjee, prosecuting, said: “The last two killings have taken place when the defendant was under the care of the mental health regime which has manifestly failed to protect the public. That there was a significant failure within the mental health care regime in recognising the danger that the defendant presented is plain.”
And David Etherington QC, defending, agreed, saying Bryan “should have been kept in conditions of the highest security”.
Sentencing him to two life sentences today, Judge Giles Forrester told Bryan he would never be released because he was too dangerous.
He said: “You killed on these last two occasions because it gave you a thrill and a feeling of power when you ate flesh. The violence on each occasion was extreme and unpredictable, accompanied by bizarre and sexual overtones.”
Referring to Mr Cherry, he added: “You ate his flesh. You fried his brain in his kitchen.”
News from our friends in Florida that a psychologist has been convicted of lying on committal forms so that she could have a pesky neighbor put away for a few days. Psychologist Holli Bodner was feuding with neighbor Jean Pierre Villar for a year, and apparently got fed up enough to actually have him committed to an institution for a three day evaluation against his will. Florida law provides that such committals may be made when someone is a danger to himself or others, but clearly there is ample room for abuse.
A psychologist accused of making false statements has pled no contest to a perjury charge Monday afternoon. The false statments led authorities to wrongfully involuntarily commit a Longboat Key, Florida man that she was having a dispute with.
Sitting inside Circuit Judge Douglas Henderson's [Florida] courtroom, Ana Villar coddled her weeping daughter-in-law, Erika Villar, as they listened to Holli Bodner explain why she impulsively asked authorities to arrest Jean Pierre Villar and have him undergo an involuntary mental evaluation in April 2003.
Prosecutors were seeking 10 days imprisonment, three months of probation and termination of Bodner's medical license. "Taking somebody's freedom away is egregious," assistant state attorney Darlene Ragoonanan told the court.
Henderson sentenced Bodner to 10 weekends of jail time starting at 6 p.m. March 25. She was also sentenced to six months of probation. An appeal bond was set at $10,000.
Bodner was scheduled to stand trial on Monday. Her license to practice psychology is under review by the Board of Medicine, attorneys said.
After the Longboat Key Police Department failed to register Bodner's complaint against Villar, Bodner turned to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, filing a Baker Act against Villar at the courthouse on April 9, 2003.
"I was so in fear for months of the ongoing barrage of this man," Bodner told Henderson. "I just wanted somebody to stop it."
Villar, who had a back injury, was taken into custody for mental evaluation. Family members claimed sheriff's deputies used excessive force while taking him into custody, causing his condition to worsen. Villar died in November.
"I just think 10 days in jail is not enough for what she did," Erika Villar told Henderson, as she cried. "He really couldn't do anything after that."
While issuing his sentence, Henderson noted that judges usually place more weight in issuing a Baker Act that is filed by a physician. Bodner never medically evaluated Villar as a patient.
Is it me or is there something disturbing about a depressed, suicidal psychologist who lies to have people committed and is still working?
Friday, March 11, 2005
As reported in the Chicago Tribune
Dr. Gary Almy, 61, of the 3100 block of Old McHenry Road, (in Long Grove, IL) is charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Almy allegedly molested a 14-year-old boy in summer 2003, a 10-year-old boy in October 2000 and a 14-year-old boy between October 2003 and last April. The boys attended Almy's Truth in Action Academy, which he operated in his home, authorities said. Judge Victoria Rossetti scheduled Almy's trial for May 31.
Almy, who was a staff psychiatrist at LYDIA Home Association, a child welfare agency in Chicago, until he resigned last month, is being held in Lake County Jail in lieu of $600,000 bail.
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
Jury selection and trial began this past Monday, March 7 in the Marcavage vs. Temple University federal civil case. Temple University Vice President of Operations, William Bergman, and the Managing Director of Campus Safety, Carl Bittenbender, will stand trial for attempting to have Michael Marcavage committed to a psychiatric ward in 1999. The legal filling can be downloaded here in PDF format
Eighty years ago the Soviet Union developed a novel method of dealing with dissenters: it labeled them insane and committed them to mental institutions. A Temple University student contends that his school resorted to these very tactics in response to his objections to a school-sponsored performance of a play that depicts Jesus as a promiscuous homosexual.
Michael Marcavage filed suit against Temple University in December 2000 for a an incident in which he alleges that University officials censored an event he had organized, roughed him up, and involuntarily committed him to the psychiatric ward of the school's hospital. His only offense, he claims, was to organize an event to counter a play that mocks Christianity.
The civil rights suit was filed in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and contends that the plaintiff's First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated. The defendants in the suit are Temple University, its vice president for operations, William Bergman, and its managing director of campus safety services, Carl Bittenbender. Attorneys for the plaintiff include lawyers for the American Family Association's Center for Law and Policy.
The controversy began in the fall semester of 1999 when Marcavage learned that the play Corpus Christi would be staged on campus. The play, which generated a great deal of controversy when it ran on Broadway in 1998, portrays Jesus as a homosexual who indiscriminately beds his disciples. As a Christian, Marcavage decided to protest the play, which he considers blasphemous.
"I didn't want to bring negative attention to this play or to this university," Marcavage maintains. "Rather, I chose to use this as an opportunity to show students who the real Jesus is." Showing his peers "who the real Jesus is" included organizing a counter-event to Corpus Christi, instead of a protest. The prospective counter-event was to consist of gospel singers, speakers, and the presentation of a Biblically based play about the life of Christ called Final Destiny. This pro-Christian play would be performed by members of the Temple University chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ. Although Corpus Christi was performed without incident , school administrators blocked Final Destiny and the accompanying speakers and gospel singers.
Carl Bittenbender is the Deputy to Temple Vice President William Bergman. He signed a form to have Marcavge committed. In signing the form to have Mr. Marcavage involuntarily committed, Carl Bittenbender checked-off boxes claiming that the Dean's List student had "inflicted or attempted to inflict serious bodily harm on another" and had "attempted suicide and that there is reasonable probability of suicide unless adequate treatment is afforded."
These claims made by Bittenbender are at odds with his own handwritten statement, however, which only noted his opinion that Maracavage exhibited "irrational," "agitated," and "confrontational" behavior. There is nothing about Marcavage hurting or threatening anyone. Nor is there mention of Mr. Bittenbender witnessing a suicide attempt. Bittenbender only claims that Marcavage locked himself in the bathroom. "I felt that he was going to hurt himself" and "may be suicidal," was his characterization of events. Yet, Bittenbender's subjective claims that he "felt" that the broadcast journalism major might be a danger to himself or that he "may" be in a suicidal state are quite different from claiming that the patient being committed had "attempted suicide" and "inflicted or attempted to inflict serious bodily harm on another."
This contradiction may prove to be the University's undoing in court. Above the boxes that Bittenbender checked on the form is a warning in bold capital letters: "Any person who provides any false information on purpose...may be subject to criminal prosecution and may face criminal penalties including conviction of a misdemeanor." The suit alleges that Bittenbender did just what the form warned him not to do.
Marcavage, who has no history of mental illness and shows no outward signs of being anything but a normal student, displayed no bodily evidence of any suicide attempt. No complaint was filed claiming that Marcavage attempted to harm any specific person. Nor is it clear how Bergman or Bittenbender could deduce how a suicide attempt or any mental breakdown was taking place on the other side of a locked bathroom door.
The mental status exam conducted by doctors at the hospital told a different story than the boxes checked off by Carl Bittenbender. The two doctors who examined Marcavage cleared him of any mental health problem. Although the examining doctor noted that Marcavage was "Tense" and "Sad," the evaluation described the 20-year-old junior as "Calm," "Cooperative," "Coherent," "Healthy," and "Mild." The examining physician noted that there were "no apparent grounds" for holding Marcavage and released him at 3:15 p.m., ending the ordeal that began more than five hours earlier in William Bergman's office.
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
Channel 25 Fox TV in Boston is reporting on the travails of Lucy Wightman, who is getting into trouble as an unlicensed psychologist. Much has been made about her previous life as a stripper performing under the name of Princess Cheyenne, and her appearance in Playboy magazine some years ago. Wightman used to strut her stuff as Princess Cheyenne in Boston's notorious "Combat Zone." She was briefly engaged to singer Cat Stevens in the mid-1970s before he converted to Islam and changed his name to Yusuf Islam. Wightman turned to bodybuilding in the '90s, winning a state title in a 1993 competition.
Five years ago, she was pursuing a more mainstream profession. In 2000 and 2001, she worked as an intern for the private agency that provided sex offender treatment for state prisoners, according to Department of Corrections spokeswoman Diane Wiffin.
Wightman told a reporter for a Boston TV station, WFXT, that she was a psychologist. Now that the news story has hit, people are coming out of the woodwork complaining about the quality of her work as a therapist. Too bad they don't realize that there are problems with the effectiveness of psychology to begin with, as documented by the many stories on this site.
Sunday, March 06, 2005
As Reported by the Washington Post
An Army intelligence sergeant who accused fellow soldiers in Samarra, Iraq, of abusing detainees in 2003 was in turn accused by his commander of being delusional and ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation in Germany, despite a military psychiatrist's initial judgment that the man was stable, according to internal Army records released yesterday.
The soldier had angered his commander by urging the unit's redeployment from the military base to prevent what the soldier feared would be the death of one or more detainees under interrogation, according to the documents. He told his commander three members of the counterintelligence team had hit detainees, pulled their hair, tried to asphyxiate them and staged mock executions with pistols pointed at the detainees' heads.
The Army intelligence sergeant subjected to a psychiatric evaluation was serving with Detachment B, 223rd Military Intelligence Battalion, and told investigators that he witnessed an escalation of violence against detainees shortly after arriving at the unit's Samarra detention facility in April 2003.
Although his name is not listed in the documents, the episode precisely matches events described publicly last year by California National Guard Sgt. Greg Ford, a former state prison guard and Navy SEAL team medic whose complaints were dismissed by the Army in October 2004 as lacking sufficient evidence. Ford said last night, after hearing what the documents stated, that he is the sergeant described.
The soldier complained that he had had to resuscitate abused detainees and urged the unit's withdrawal. He told investigators that the unit's commander, an Army captain, responded by giving him "30 seconds to withdraw my request or he was going to send me forcibly to go see a psychiatrist." The soldier added: "I told him I was not going to withdraw my request and at that time he confiscated my weapon and informed me he was withdrawing my security clearance and was placing me under 24-hour surveillance."
A witness in his unit told investigators that the captain later pressured a military doctor -- who had found the soldier stable -- into doing another emergency evaluation, saying: "I don't care what you saw or heard, he is imbalanced, and I want him out of here."
The next day, after the doctor did another evaluation, the soldier was evacuated from Iraq in restraints on a stretcher to a military hospital in Germany, despite having been given no official diagnosis, according to the documents. A military doctor in Germany ruled he was in stable mental health, according to the documents, but sent him back to the United States for what the soldier recalls the doctor describing as his "safety."
The soldier depicted the evacuation as part of an effort to cover up wrongdoing. But other members of his team denied the allegations, saying that the unit was professional and that they never saw abusive behavior at the facility. Investigators closed the case without filing charges, writing that the investigation "did not identify any witnesses" to the abuse and did not "produce any logical subjects."
The new documents also describe allegations by a military interrogator, who was not named, that members of Task Force 626 -- an elite U.S. military unit assigned to hunt in Iraq for senior officials in Saddam Hussein's government -- used harsh interrogation tactics and abused detainees at a secret detention facility called Camp Nama in Baghdad in April and May of last year. The Army's criminal investigators turned the investigation over to Special Operations and closed the case; the Special Operations probe concluded the allegations of wrongdoing were unfounded.
Thursday, March 03, 2005
A new study conducted at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston has found that every one of a dozen children treated for attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder with methylphenidate (Ritalin) experienced a threefold increase in levels of chromosome abnormalities—occurrences associated with increased risks of cancer and other adverse health effects.
In a small but startling preliminary new study, Texas researchers have found that after just three months, every one of a dozen children treated for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with the drug methylphenidate experienced a threefold increase in levels of chromosome abnormalities—occurrences associated with increased risks of cancer and other adverse health effects. The researchers say that to their knowledge this is the first study addressing the potential chromosome-breaking effects associated with treatment of children with methylphenidate, the generic name for a group of drugs that includes Ritalin, Concerta, Metadate CD and others.
Methylphenidate is the most widely prescribed of a class of amphetamine-like drugs used to treat ADHD, with more than 10 million prescriptions written for it in 1996 alone. Between 1991 and 1999, United States sales of methylphenidate increased more than 500 percent.
Researchers at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) reported their detection of the chromosome abnormalities in the journal Cancer Letters. Their peer-reviewed paper is to be published several months hence, but the journal editors have made it available online in the journal’s “articles in press” section.
The authors said they undertook the study because, even though methylphenidate has been approved for human use for more than 50 years, “there are surprisingly few studies” in either animals or human beings “on the potential for serious side effects,” such as causing mutations and cancer. In 1996, a report discussing several two-year-long animal studies showed that the highest levels of methylphenidate tested caused liver tumors in male and female mice. However, similar studies in rats showed no such tumors.
The new Texas study involved researchers drawing blood from children diagnosed with ADHD before they began taking methylphenidate in order to get a baseline level of chromosomal abnormalities. Three months after the children had begun taking the drug, the researchers drew the children’s blood and tested it a second time. Chromosomes are the bodies within cells that carry the genes and genetic information. All 12 of the children whose before-and-after blood cells were studied were treated with normal therapeutic doses of methylphenidate.
Most of the abnormalities found in the studied blood cells consisted of chromosome breaks “and a higher frequency of aberrations is reported to be associated with an increased risk of cancer down the line,” said lead author Randa A. El-Zein, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor of epidemiology at M.D. Anderson who performed the blood studies using several techniques.
“It was pretty surprising that all of the children taking methylphenidate showed an increase in chromosome abnormalities in a relatively short period of time,” El-Zein said.
UTMB Professor of Environmental Toxicology Marvin Legator, the study’s principal investigator and senior author, cautioned, “This study doesn’t mean that these kids are going to get cancer, but it does mean they are exposed to an additional risk factor, assuming that this study holds up.” Of the 53 known human carcinogens, Legator said 48 could be detected using the chromosome analysis methods employed in this study.
The Cancer Letters article by Randa A. El-Zein, Sherif Z. Abdel-Rahman, Matthew J. Hay, Mirtha S. Lopez, Melissa L. Bondy, Debra L. Morris and Marvin S. Legator can be found on the Web by clicking the “Articles in Press” button on ScienceDirect’s Cancer Letters page.
Monday, February 28, 2005
Deaths in Britain involving overdoses of antidepressants such as Prozac and Seroxat have more than doubled in five years.
Doctors and mental health campaigners warned that over-prescribing, coupled with a lack of accurate research into their risks, was fuelling the rise in the number of people who have committed suicide as a result of taking pills which are supposed to alleviate depression.
More than 3.5 million people in Britain received 20 million prescriptions for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) last year. But concerns about the safety of the drugs have increased after reports that some patients who only suffered from mild depression had committed suicide within days or weeks of being prescribed the pills.
In 1999, 38 people died as a result of SSRI overdoses, according to Health Statistics Quarterly, published yesterday by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). By 2003, this had more than doubled to 81.
Because one of the advantages of SSRIs is their low toxicity level, most of these deaths are considered to be deliberate overdoses. Still more people - at least eight in the UK in the past two years - have killed themselves by other means, such as hanging, after being prescribed the SSRIs.
The British government-run Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), ruled last December that, for adults, the benefits of SSRIs outweighed the risks. But the controversy has highlighted how doctors, patients and regulators such as the MHRA are reliant on information supplied by the drugs companies making the drugs.
GlaxoSmithKline, which makes Seroxat, is under investigation for withholding safety data on the drug and only publishing favourable results from clinical trials.
Richard Brook, chief executive of the mental health charity Mind, said: "I think these figures are very worrying ... the way in which SSRIs contribute to suicides has yet to be understood. We haven't got all the data because we haven't had proper follow-up studies, post-licensing procedures are poor and, most of all, we still have to rely on the drugs companies to supply the data, whose record on this issue is deplorable."
Saturday, February 26, 2005
As seen online at the Jello Musuem and elsewhere:
March 17, 1993, technicians at St. Jerome hospital in Batavia test a bowl of lime Jell-O with an EEG machine and confirm the earlier testing by Canadian Doctor Adrian Upton in 1969 that a dome of wiggly Jell-O has brain waves identical to those of adult men and women. In 1969, Dr. Upton connected an electroencephalograph (EEG) to a dome of lime Jell-O, only to find the readings to be almost identical to those of healthy human beings.
Also as originally reported in Mother Earth News back in 1976
THERE'S ALWAYS ROOM FOR MODERN MEDICINE . . . OR IS THERE? Dr. Adrian Upton, professor of neurology at MacMasters University in Hamilton, Ontario, recently rigged a brain wave machine, artificial respirators, and intravenous feeding equipment to a bowl of lime jello about the size of a human brain, and—gasp!—recorded readings typical of those emitted by a living person. In fact, the good doctor noted, the results of the electronic analysis would not have qualified the dessert as sufficiently "dead" to have the life-sustaining plugs pulled under existing legal guidelines!
What an electroencephalograph machine (or EEG) does is measure electrical activity in the brain. This is probably useful for something, though I’m not sure what. Of course, the experiment proved that EEGs are quite susceptible to environmental interference. But it seems amusing that brain scientists are using this to try to detect thoughts. How much phenomena is attributed to the mere monitiring of enviromental noise?
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
The British Medical Journal has devoted the cover story of a major issue to the question Do SSRI's Cause Suicide? Typically, they have one story for, one story against, and one story that says that SSRI's are no worse in this regard than another class of drugs. And in a bit of irony, there is also a paper included that states "Neither emergency department staff nor psychiatrists can predict which patients will repeat self harm"
Friday, February 11, 2005
A public health warning has been issued in the United States for the drug Adderall, after the Canadian government pulled the drug from shelves. The drug, which is a common prescription for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, has been linked to the sudden death of 14 children, and six adults, as well as a dozen strokes.
Despite the Canadian action, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is not taking the same action in the United States. The FDA is reviewing the action taken in Canada.
The drug has been prescribed more than 30 million times since it hit shelves in 1999. Today, more than a million people take the drug and most of them are children. Parents who have a child that takes the drug are encouraged to contact their physician if they are worried.
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
Sunday, January 30, 2005
TeenScreen — Psychs and drug companies look for new customers: school kids
TeenScreen tries to hide the facts: Since this web page has gone on-line TeenScreen and other related web sites have been quietly deleting certain objectionable web pages and information that proved their drug company connections and funding. PsychSearch.net was forewarned that they might do this, therefore all web references were saved in advance and are provided here for your uncensored viewing.
TeenScreen is a so-called "diagnostic psychiatric service" aka a "suicide survey" done on children who are then referred to psychiatric treatment. The evidence suggests that the objective of the psychiatrists who designed TeenScreen is to place children so selected on psychotropic medication.
Note: the suicide survey previously was posted at
but we noticed on January 24, 2005 that TeenScreen and company did their disappearing act again on the survey. Luckily the survey had already been saved for you to review.
"It's just a way to put more people on prescription drugs," said Marcia Angell, a medical ethics lecturer at Harvard Medical School and author of "The Truth About Drug Companies." She said such programs will boost the sale of antidepressants like Paxil, Zoloft and Prozac even after the FDA in September ordered a "black box" label warning that the pills might spur suicidal thoughts or actions in minors. (The New York Post, December 5, 2004)
Friday, January 28, 2005
PsychSearch.net provides journalists, law enforcement, insurance investigators and citizens ready access to governmental reports on mental health practitioners across the state of Florida.
Did you know it was against the law for a psychotherapist to have sexual relations with his or her patient? It only makes sense that a patient should expect to feel safe in the office of his or her counselor, however, hundreds of people are abused every year by the psychotherapists they appeal to for help. According to Florida State Law this is a crime punishable by imprisonment. Many times these criminal acts go unreported — something we hope to correct.
This and other fraudulent and criminal actions have been committed against the citizens of Florida by psychotherapists for years — and now is the time to speak out to end these administrative and criminal transgressions.
Definition of a "psych" or psychotherapist:
For the purposes of this website a "psych" is defined as a Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Mental Health Counselor, Marriage & Family Therapist, Psychiatric Nurse or Clinical Social Worker. A "psych" is also defined as an unlicensed person who attempts to "practice" in any of the above "professions."
One can only imagine what happens in the field of mental health. As Reported in Rueters UK. Also as reported in this weblog, since Rueters stories tend to be on the internet for only a month.
Eighty percent of U.S. doctors and half of nurses surveyed said they had seen colleagues make mistakes, but only 10 percent ever spoke up, according to a study released on Wednesday. These mistakes are undoubtedly contributing to the deaths of tens of thousands of people who die from medical errors in the United States each year, the researchers and experts on nursing said.
Nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers need to be less shy about speaking up about mistakes, incompetent colleagues and other problems that can hurt patients, the report said. Healthcare workers who do speak up are not only able to nip the problem in the bud, but are also happier in their own work, said Joseph Grenny, president of consulting group VitalSmarts, which conducted the survey.
Grenny's team surveyed 1,700 nurses, doctors, hospital administrators and other experts for the study.
"Fifty percent of nurses said they have colleagues who appear incompetent," Grenny told a meeting of clinical care nurses. Eighty-four percent of physicians and 62 percent of nurses and other clinical care providers have seen co-workers taking shortcuts that could be dangerous to patients," he added.
The survey found that 88 percent of doctors and 48 percent of nurses and other workers felt they worked with colleagues who showed poor clinical judgment.
A 1999 study by the nonpartisan Institute of Medicine found that up to 98,000 Americans die each year from medical errors in hospitals. Last July, Lakewood, Colorado-based HealthGrades Inc. said the true number was closer to 195,000 people a year.
The errors include giving patients the wrong drug or the wrong dose, surgical errors and spreading germs through unhygienic practices.
"People frequently see these problems but too often they fail to talk about them," Grenny said.
Why not? Because people fear confrontation, lack time or feel it is not their job, Grenny said. Even doctors were afraid to question nurses they saw making errors, he said. His survey found the 10 percent of workers who did speak up felt good about it.
"When they effectively confront a situation, it makes a difference," he said. "These people are also more satisfied with their workplace."
Connie Barden, who helped author standards for the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, said nurses cannot be afraid to point out mistakes. "Nurses must be as proficient at handling personal communication as they are in clinical skills," she told the meeting.
Sunday, January 23, 2005
A Senior Queensland [Australia] health official has been asked to show cause why he should not be disciplined after it was revealed he had been convicted of the indecent assault of a work colleague two years ago in Victoria.
Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital executive manager of mental health services Bill Pepplinkhouse plead guilty in March 2002 to a charge of indecent assault following an incident in May 2001 in which he squeezed a female colleague's breasts during a work function. At the time Mr Pepplinkhouse was the manager of the Grampians Psychiatric Services, a division of the Ballarat Health Services in Victoria – a position he had held for five years.
The documents relating to Mr Pepplinkhouse's conviction surfaced yesterday following recent stories by The Courier-Mail about the administration of the PA Hospital's mental health services.
Documents provided to The Courier-Mail show that shortly before his conviction, Mr Pepplinkhouse had resigned his job and moved to Queensland "to get on with his life".
In sentencing Mr Pepplinkhouse for the charge of indecent assault, Magistrate Tim McDonald said it was unacceptable for a person in a position of authority to engage in an action that broke the trust that should exist between a manager and an employee.
Queensland Health senior executive director (health services) John Scott said last night Mr Pepplinkhouse has been asked to show cause as to why disciplinary action should not be taken. "The Queensland Health Code of Conduct requires all employees to declare if they have been charged with an indictable offence or convicted of a criminal offence," Dr Scott said. "This was not done."
Liberal health spokesman Bruce Flegg said a simple reference check with Mr Pepplinkhouse's former employer would have brought the matters to light. Dr Flegg said even though the matters may not have been finalised before the courts, the matters would have been well known and Mr Pepplinkhouse's former employers would have had a responsibility to reveal the information.
"This is a senior appointment in the vulnerable area of mental health," Dr Flegg said. "Queensland Health have been delinquent in their reference-checking and assessment. The judge's remarks in this case were particularly scathing around holding a position in the mental health area."
Monday, January 17, 2005
A documentary film about depression and suicide
There is a tendency afoot today to blame the epidemic sweep of clinical depression in the US on bad genes or screwy brain chemistry. But what if the causes of depression, suicide, or other mental illnesses, do not emanate from biology?
This artful documentary film brings six people together for three days of emotional, and at times heated, discussion about the sources of their despair.
Intermixed are hard-to-find facts which challenge the psychiatric industry's claims that depression is a biological disorder. Fundamentally about empowerment and the resilience of the human spirit, this surprisingly inspirational new movie will change the way you think about "normal."
The following informational text slates that are presented in the film are listed here with their sources:
|In the U.S., 30,000 people kill themselves each year, one every 17 minutes.||National Center on Health Statistics|
|One million adolescents attempt suicide each year||Centers for Disease Control|
|Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among youth ages 15-24.||National Mental Health Association|
|As many as one-third of teenage suicides are gay/lesbian youth.||Department of Health & Human Services|
|Identical quadruplets develop schizophrenia. A renowned geneticist proclaims them proof of a biological cause, discounting the girls environment which included a father who banged their heads together to stop them from crying, abused them sexually and mutilated their genitals with acid.||Toxic Psychiatry, Peter R. Breggin, M.D.|
|In 1952 the American Psychiatric Association published the first Diagnostic and Statistical Manual listing 60 types of mental disease. By the 1990s the 4th revision of the DSM listed 374 ways to be mentally ill.||DSMs|
|In 1967 several prominent psychiatrists wrote in a prominent medical journal that brain dysfunction was a cause of urban violence.||JAMA|
|In the 1970's government agencies funded psychiatrists who advocated psychiatric brain surgery for rioters and their leaders.||War Against Children, Peter R. Breggin|
|In the 1990's, the U.S. government conducted research on inner-city youth believed to be genetically pre-disposed to violence. The goal: to identify them at an early age and use drug treatment before they become criminals.||In Genes we Trust, Barry Mehler|
|While 75 percent of all attempted suicides are women, 80 percent of all completed suicides are men.||National Center for Health Statistics|
|In 1997 Prozac became the No. 2 overall selling drug in the U.S. bringing Eli Lilly 1 billion, 492 million dollars in revenue||The Plymouth as reported in the San Francisco Chronicle.|
|Lilly and other drug companies fund research at institutes where their products are tested and provide speaking fees, consulting deals and free travel to the psychiatrists in charge of the studies.||New York Post, 1998|
|Biopsychiatrists have long touted brain scan evidence as proof that schizophrenia is a biological disorder. Researchers recently discovered that the brain abnormalities are found only in neuroleptic-treated patients and are in all likelihood medication-induced.||American Journal of Psychiatry |
|Estimates suggest that 5 million children take Ritalin for ADD, a "disease" that has never been proven to exist.||There Is No Disease |
Fred Baughman, Jr. M.D.
|Since 1980 the number of private, for-profit psychiatric hospitals has more than tripled. Over 300,000 children and adolescents are placed in these hospitals each year. In Kentucky in 1990, 80% of the kids in one hospital were there with a diagnosis of "conduct disorder."||Bedlam, Joe Sharkey|