Thursday, November 17, 2005

Howard Dully Talks about 'My Lobotomy'

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.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Serotonin and Depression: A Disconnect between the Advertisements and the Scientific Literature

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