Thursday, August 31, 2006

Welcome to Students from Liverpool Hope University

I would like to extend a welcome to Students from Liverpool Hope University, where this Weblog has been cited as a resource for a special course on the Biological Explanations of Behaviour. This article will be linked in the side menu once it falls off the front page.

It is up to you to determine your own opinions regarding the mind, the spirit, the soul, ethics, the origins of life, metaphysics, etc. I do not address these issues here.

I invite you to go through the archives, as there is a large amount of material there covering many subjects. The vast majority of articles provide direct links to source articles. Since there are close to a thousand articles in the archives, please be aware that some links may have become obsolete.

Much of my own opinions center around

  • the ethical issues of psychiatry, psychology, and pharmacology as Big Business, with all of the ethical problems commonly found in Big Business. The profit motive does not always serve patients well.
  • The faulty science and logic in psychiatric research and psychiatric medicine. See the work of Richard DeGrandpre, who is a past senior editor of Adbusters magazine. His is a modern voice of skepticism regarding some of the faulty scientific logic seen in many psychiatric studies, and the field in general. See also this famous talk on Cargo Cult Science by Richard Feyman, renowned physicist. There is this tidbit also.
  • The inability of Psychiatry and Psychology to police and handle criminal and aberrant behavior in its own membership. This is a profession that purports to understand the human mind, and seeks to help people. The old adage, physician, heal thyself, certainly applies.
  • The unwillingness to take the time to determine the true biological cause for any various mental symptoms presented. An excellent recent satire tells the story of a psychiatrist expelled from his professional organisation because he began to actually cure people. There is also the quite serious article citing 29 different medical conditions that can produce symptoms of schizophrenia.
  • for those with a spiritual bent see the essay Television Science, the Year of the Circuit

Simply put, I am looking for competence in Science, Logic, and Ethics, in a field where these particular practical results are sorely lacking.

You can make a difference, if you want to. Or Not.

Politician denies euthanasia speech promotes suicide

In this case, we are not dealing with a psych, but a stupid politician

South Australian Democrat MP Sandra Kanck says she has not promoted suicide in a speech to State Parliament, detailing methods for voluntary euthanasia. The speech, lasting about half-an-hour, mentioned equipment, substances and services available for voluntary euthanasia. Ms Kanck insists she is not encouraging people to commit suicide.

"People looking for simple ways to end their lives by accessing this speech are not going to find them," she said. Ms Kanck told the Upper House her speech did not promote suicide, but attacked what "stupid federal laws" banning advice about euthanasia on television or on the phone.

"Some will say this will cause an increase in youth suicide," she said."There will not be an increase in suicides as a result of this speech."

Mental Health Minister Gail Gago disagrees.

"The outlining of suicide details is likely to lead to the deaths of vulnerable people," she said.

Family First MP Andrew Evans says voluntary euthanasia is a dangerous cause. "When you analyse that facts about euthanasia, no one in their right mind would support it," he said.

The SA Government says it cannot stop Ms Kanck's speech being reprinted in Hansard.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A psychiatrist hosted a three-day drug binge which ended in the death of a guest. He specialises in addiction therapy

Based on other reports

Psychiatrist Clint Tatchell has denied wrong doing after a man died in his flat following a two-day drug and alcohol binge. David Steel was found dead at Dr Tatchell's home in Spiers Wharf, Glasgow, at 4am on September 21, 2003. Mr Steel had taken a lethal cocktail of drugs including ecstasy, cocaine, heroin and diazepam and died of an ecstasy overdose, the London hearing was told.

Dr Tatchell, who worked for NHS Greater Glasgow as an addiction psychiatrist between May 2003 and July 2004, is also accused of drunkenly writing a prescription at the same party for his flatmate Brian Hoolichan. He denies impairment by reason of misconduct.

Aparrently the psychiatrist tried to mislead police about the circumstances surrounding the matter as well.
More information is available in this report from the Scotsman:
A psychiatrist specialising in addiction therapy hosted a three-day drink and drugs binge which ended in a guest fatally overdosing on ecstasy, a hearing was told yesterday.

Dr Clint Tatchell discovered David Steel dead in his living room and then hurriedly cleaned his Glasgow flat before police arrived, it is claimed.

Detectives later discovered Mr Steel had also taken 19 diazepam tablets as well as ecstasy, heroin and cocaine during the party.

Tatchell, who worked for Greater Glasgow NHS, had allegedly prescribed sedative diazepam pills for his flatmate Brian Hoolichan while drunk.

The General Medical Council heard he then lied to officers by claiming he had kept the drugs in an unlocked cabinet - only to insist it was locked three months later. Tatchell tried to cover his tracks by fabricating medical notes to make it seem he prescribed diazepam to Mr Hoolichan during a genuine appointment, it is claimed.

Tatchell, of Port Dundas, Glasgow, is appearing at the GMC accused of misconduct. Tatchell and his friends allegedly met Mr Steel while partying at the Polo Lounge, a gay bar in Glasgow, on 19 September, 2003.

Tatchell then wrote the sedative prescription out for Mr Hoolichan while the party continued at his home the next day, it is claimed. But the pills were left on his living- room table and Mr Steel swallowed 19 of them before falling unconscious.

The doctor allegedly put Mr Steel to bed and realised he was dead at 4am. He was found to have died of an ecstasy overdose.

Tatchell is also accused of producing a six-gramme bag of cocaine at Mr Steel's 30th birthday party on 30 January, 2003, and saying: "Let's get the party started."

Tatchell denies having cocaine at the party and also denies he was drunk. He admits he should have known Mr Hoolichan was drunk when he wrote the prescription for diazepam and that he drove a friend to a pharmacy to collect the sedative.

Tatchell further admits that Mr Smith left the pills on the living-room table, but denies his actions were inappropriate, irresponsible and an abuse of his position.

Tatchell admits telling police he made notes of a consultation with Mr Hoolichan on 18 September 2003, but denies the notes were fabricated. He further denies his fitness to practise is impaired.

The hearing continues today.

Update: More recent reports in England are making much of the angle the the doctor was 'involved in drug-fuelled Glasgow gay scene'. Sounds like the tabloids are going to have fun with this one.
Mr Dafydd Enoch, for the GMC, told the hearing: "It would seem Dr Tatchell and friends were part of a socially active gay scene in Glasgow and this party represented a typical spontaneous event.

"The party was not just fuelled by drink, although there was vodka, beer, champagne and alcopops drunk, we say it was fuelled by drugs, certainly in Mr Steel's case.

"Dr Tatchell orchestrated a thorough tidy up of the flat before police arrived following Mr Steel's death. At the party there had been swimming, people crashing and then waking up, people had been wearing togas, and you may think police would come in and ask, what has been going on here?

"He had just found a dead body in his bed, he must have realised he should have touched nothing and let the police deal with it, what did he have to hide?"

Mr Enoch then told the hearing that in an interview with police following Mr Steel's death, Dr Tatchell admitted taking cocaine on a recent visit to his native South Africa.

During the party at his flat, Dr Tatchell had written a prescription for Diazepam for his flatmate Brian Hoolichan, on a plain sheet of paper, despite knowing Mr Hoolichan had his own regular GP.

Dr Tatchell drove another man, Gordon Smith, to collect the tablets, and police found the bottle open in his bedroom with 19 of the 28 tablets missing. Only a small amount of the drug was found in Mr Steel's system.

Dr Tatchell worked as an addiction psychiatrist for NHS Greater Glasgow between May 2003 and July 2004.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Psychiatrist must pay $55,000 after sex abuse case

As reported in the New Zealand Herald

Former New Zealand psychiatrist Dr Selwyn Leeks has been ordered to pay $55,000 in damages for sexually abusing a former patient.

The payment was ordered by an Australian court which found that Dr Leeks "took advantage ... of a disturbed psychiatric patient".

The 77-year-old is also being investigated by New Zealand police over claims by former child and youth patients that he abused them at Lake Alice Hospital near Wanganui in the 1970s.

He escaped a potentially damning disciplinary hearing before the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria last month by effectively surrendering his medical licence in return for the case being shelved.

A five-year investigation into complaints from 50 former Lake Alice patients found a case of unprofessional conduct to answer in 16 of them.

Dr Leeks, who left New Zealand in the late 1970s, is accused of punishing patients with electric shock therapy.

The sexual abuse claim was heard as a civil case in the Victoria County Court.

Judge Jim Duggan said in his verdict: "I conclude that a senior and well-credentialled psychiatrist took advantage of the vulnerability of a disturbed psychiatric patient for the purposes of sexual gratification."

He awarded the woman $55,000 damages.

Dr Leeks said he had no recollection of the woman, and denied any sexual impropriety.

The Australian woman, who has had depression and anxiety and is now aged 54, claimed Dr Leeks fondled her breasts and put his finger into her vagina during consultations in 1979 or 1980.

She said that when she stopped her visits, he urged her not to disclose what he had done, telling her: "You're a long-term psychiatric patient and no one will believe you."

The judge said she made complaints to the police and the medical board, but "these were not taken any further".

The board's spokeswoman said yesterday its investigation had been halted by the court case, but it would now consider the judge's ruling in deciding what action to take.

Steve Green, executive director of the anti-psychiatry group Citizens Commission on Human Rights NZ, said Judge Duggan's ruling was the first public, official finding of wrongdoing by Dr Leeks. Mr Green said his group was helping 10 more former patients prepare complaints.

The Government has apologised to 183 former Lake Alice patients and paid them $10.7 million compensation.

Psychiatrist targetted in death probe.

As reported here

A disgraced Rockhampton psychiatrist and would-be politician banned last year from practising after a patient sex scandal faces fresh allegations he was responsible for another patient's death from a drug overdose.

Christopher John Alroe, 50, had his medical licence cancelled for four years by the Health Practitioners' Tribunal in May 2005 after he was found guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct for a sexual relationship with a registered nurse he had treated for a bipolar disorder.

Alroe, who twice stood for the federal seat of Capricornia, was criticised by the tribunal for preying on the woman's vulnerability and for his "predatory and exploitative conduct".

He appealed the tribunal's findings unsuccessfully.

New allegations have surfaced this week that Alroe prescribed an excessive amount of medication for a patient with a history of drug abuse and significant mental illness without proper supervision measures being put in place.

The male patient died four days later from what a coronial inquiry found was an overdose of methadone.

A referral notice filed by the Medical Board of Queensland with the Queensland District Court on Monday stated Dr Alroe's actions in August 2003 constituted unsatisfactory professional conduct.

The document said Alroe treated the male patient a number of times in 2003 knowing he had a significant history of drug abuse and significant psychiatric illness and had not complied with medication in the past.

But on August 19 of that year, Alroe prescribed a number of controlled and restricted drugs for the patient, including 20 tablets of methadone. The patient died of an overdose on August 23.

It was alleged the treatment was inappropriate because the prescription was excessive in the circumstances, and that Alroe did not ensure the patient was on a methadone program or that each dose was dispensed by a pharmacist or drug rehabilitation clinic. He also did not ensure the patient was well enough to use the medication without supervision.

Steps were allegedly not taken to ensure there would be no misuse of the methadone, and Alroe did not ensure the patient received ongoing care.

A directions hearing into the matter had yet to be set by the Health Practitioners Tribunal.

Alroe's solicitor Damien Alroe, of Alroe and O'Sullivans solicitors, yesterday said there would be no comment until the matter was dealt with.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Most of psychiatry is pseudoscience through and through

As seen here by Richard DeGrandpre, who is a past senior editor of Adbusters magazine

Most of psychiatry is pseudoscience through and through. The reason why is this: not only does the psychiatry establishment fail to distinguish between correlation and causation – a scientific must – it blatantly refuses to. And for good reason: most of the dogma in psychiatry is not scientifically proven, nor could be.

The core hoax here is psychiatry’s brain --> behavior theory. According to biological psychiatry, all behavior is caused by the brain and so any abnormal behavior is caused by an abnormal brain. According to this cartoon logic, love and hate are not reactions to the outer world, they are brain states caused by the workings of the brain. If you don’t believe this, you should also not believe the former. Depression and schizophrenia are expressed in the brain, but they are as connected to the outer world as are love and hate.

And then there’s the BRAIN --> BEHAVIOR --> DRUG theory of psychiatry. Because a drug affects the abnormal behavior, it proves that the problem was biological after all. This is as wrongheaded as saying that because Viagra helps you get an erection, you love Viagra as much as your wife. Again, research shows the absurdity of psychiatry’s so-called science.

Unfortunately for psychiatry, studies keep turning up that suggest links between environment and mental health. For instance, studies show that psychotherapy and drug therapy both alter brain chemistry in ways that alter our psychological states of mind (indeed: look at the Latest Placebo Research, bottom right).

The DRUG --> BRAIN theory of psychiatry is hugely important because it is used as justification for such things as removing people from the world (which doesn’t matter to their mental state) and forcing drugs and other radical measures upon them. This is the history of psychiatry. Such power based on such nonsense should be among the most feared things in our society, even if it is not. As with the Nazis, biology serves to justify horrible acts against people. Whether this is done with the best intentions, or the worst, doesn’t matter.

Mad Psychiatrist still on the run

As reported here - What some folks do not realize is that Radovan Karadzic is a psychiatrist. He was born in 1945, and was the leader of the Bosnian Serbs, who fought the mainly Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) government in the former Yugoslav republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1992 to 1995. He graduated in psychiatry from the University of Sarajevo. Karadžić worked in local hospitals, and served as the team psychiatrist for Sarajevo’s soccer team.

Karadžić founded and became president of the Serbian Democratic Party. As Yugoslavia moved toward dissolution in 1991, Karadžić warned that if Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence, Bosnian Serbs would secede and seek union with Serbia. In April 1992 civil war erupted after the republic’s electorate voted for independence. By December 1992, Serbs had seized about 70 percent of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Karadžić was acting as president of the self-proclaimed Serb Republic (Republika Srpska) within Bosnia.

One of the most wanted Bosnian Serb war crimes suspects, former leader Radovan Karadzic, remains as much an enigma as his whereabouts 11 years after The Hague-based UN War Crimes Tribunal indicted him.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) raised the initial indictment against Karadzic and his army commander general Ratko Mladic on 24 July 1995. It charged them with war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity during what was then the ongoing 1992-1995 war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The charges included permanent attacks on the Bosnian capital Sarajevo from the surrounding hills held by Bosnian Serb troops, as well as organizing detention facilities for non-Serb population, mostly Muslims, in the areas controlled by Bosnian Serbs.

During the war (1992-95) Sarajevo was under siege longer than any other city in modern history -- longer even than Stalingrad.

As soon as the world learned of the massacre in the former eastern Bosniak enclave of Srebrenica, where Bosnian Serb troops massacred 8,100 Bosniak men and children on 11 July 1995 - ranging in age from babies to the elderly - the ICTY raised another indictment against the two in November 1995, charging them with the Srebrenica massacre.

The initial indictments were further amended in 2000 for Karadzic and in 2002 for Mladic, when more charges were added.

While demands and media speculation over the past year have been rife about Mladic possibly being detained, stories about Karadzic have rarely surfaced.

"I do not know where Karadzic and Mladic are. I do not have any element right now to believe they are in this country," the commander of some 6,000-strong European Union Force (EUFOR) in Bosnia, Italian Major General Gian Marco Chiarini, told media in Sarajevo.

EUFOR intelligence, he said, would know for sure if the two most wanted fugitives were in Bosnia.

The fact that Karadzic and Mladic were not behind bars yet, according to president of the Association of Victimized People Fadila Memisevic, showed that "the international community is not ready to deal yet with their apprehension," despite different signals from Washington and Brussels.

"Obviously there is no political will. Karadzic and Mladic were not arrested when they were here 11 years ago, when some 60,000 fully equipped UN peacekeepers were deployed in this country, with the support of probably the strongest concentration of intelligence in the world at that time," Memisevic told Deutsche Presse-Agentur, dpa.

"Since they did not manage to catch them 11 years ago, I doubt that will happen now," she said.

Memisevic also said she still believed in a "conspiracy theory" according to which Karadzic made a deal with the US officials to simply disappear from the political and public life of Bosnia- Herzegovina and its Serb entity, the Srpska Republic, in exchange for his freedom.

Munira Subasic of the Association of Srebrenica Survivors - Mothers of Srebrenica, also believes the world and Europe should be more active when it is about Karadzic.

"If the world and Europe only wished that, Karadzic would have been in The Hague a long time ago," said Subasic.

But political analyst Tanja Topic from Banja Luka in the Srpska Republic dismisses a conspiracy theory.

"There is so much speculation, but I think the stance of most European officials is the same - Karadzic and Mladic must be apprehended," said Topic.

The EU, she said, would never soften its demand for Karadzic's and Mladic's arrest. "It will continue to insist on that, with no pardon."

The key of the problem, she said, is hidden in the deep tradition of the Serbs in the Srpska Republic and neighbouring Serbia.

An approach to the problem through the tradition, she believes, would also explain why Mladic's name was often mentioned in the media, while everyone seemed to have forgotten Karadzic and his deeds.

"Mladic is much more respected than Karadzic. He is considered a soldier, and his eventual arrest would be bigger problem than the arrest of Radovan Karadzic," said Topic.

Being a soldier was always considered in the Balkans, especially among Serbs, as an honourable and respectable thing that would show a transformation of a boy to a man, she said.

"Karadzic was not a soldier, and he was not given such importance as Mladic was. Besides that, Karadzic's popularity decreased with gossip about his various criminal acts against his own people."

Another factor, she said, was that Mladic had been located, which merited more space in newspapers. Karadzic's whereabouts remained unknown - and so being a stale news for years.

While she strongly hopes the justice will be satisfied one day, Munira Subasic - who lost her family in the Srebrenica massacre - believes Karadzic will never be arrested.

Empty initiatives to get Karadzic before the ICTY, she said, would probably never work. He would remain at large, but would pay for his crimes in another way.

"Let them (Karadzic and Mladic) stay heroes of their own people, while nobody touches them," she said.

"They have had to change their lives, to cope with the fact that they will have to hide from the rest of the world and abandon a normal, decent, human life in exchange for freedom until they die."

In 2000, the U.S. Jury returned $4.5 billion verdict against Radovan Karadzic.

The U.S. Government is offering $5 million reward for information leading to the capture of Radovan Karadzic and/or Ratko Mladic.

More Psych Jokes

Over drinks, one psychiatrist turned to the other and asked, "What was your most difficult case?"

"Once I had a patient who lived in a complete fantasy world," the second replied. "He actually believed he was Elvis's love child, and that he stood to inherit a fortune. For years he waited for a make-believe letter from a make-believe attorney. He never went out-- just sat around and waited."

"What was the result of treatment?"

"It was an eight-year struggle, but I finally cured him," the shrink said. "And then that stupid letter arrived."


An older couple, both age 67, went to a psychiatrist's office. The psychiatrist asked, "What can I do for you?"

The man said, "Will you watch us have sexual intercourse?" The psychiatrist looked puzzled, but agreed.

When the couple finished, the doctor said, "There's nothing wrong with the way you have intercourse," and charged them $32. This happened several weeks in a row. The couple would make an appointment, have intercourse with no problems, pay the psychiatrist, then leave.

Finally the doctor asked, "Just exactly what are you trying to find out?"

The old man said, "We're not trying to find out anything. She's married and we can't go to her house - I'm married and we can't go to my house. The Holiday Inn charges $60. The Hilton charges $78. We do it here for $32, and I get $28 back from Medicare.


Reflections on the advancement of Medicine.

2000 B.C. - Here, eat this root, it will cure you.
1000 A.D. - That root is poison, say this prayer.
1850 A.D. - That prayer is pure superstition, drink this potion.
1940 A.D. - That potion is snake oil, swallow this pill.
1985 A.D. - That pill is ineffective, take this antibiotic.
2000 A.D. - That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root.


The secretary in the mental-health clinic chose a new screensaver -- a picture of a dancing teapot playing the children's song "I'm a Little Teapot." Seeing this, the clinic psychiatrist posted a message on the secretary's desk: "Your computer is suffering from an identity disorder."


How do you tell the difference between the staff and the inmates at a psychiatric hospital?

The staff have the keys!


How do you tell the difference between the staff and the inmates at a psychiatric hospital?

The inmates know who is really crazy.


How do you tell the difference between the staff and the inmates at a psychiatric hospital?

The Staff think that the electroshock machine isn't strong enough.


How do you tell the difference between the staff and the inmates at a psychiatric hospital?

The Staff gets to choose their own drugs.


How do you tell the difference between the staff and the inmates at a psychiatric hospital?

The Staff doesn't get the sedatives they deserve.


How do you tell the difference between the staff and the inmates at a psychiatric hospital?

The patients sometimes get better.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Psychiatry by Prescription

This is the cover article for the July and August 2006 edition of Harvard Magazine. While sympathetic and pro-psychiatry in many regards, it points out that modern psychiatry is in a crisis, precisely because of the drugs. It is probably a useful article to approach someone who is a hard-core advocate of psychiatric services.

For example, there is this snippet:

Consider the case of Dora, described by Joseph Glenmullen in his book Prozac Backlash. When Dora, a schoolteacher, retired, she expected to enjoy her new freedom, especially the chance to spend time with her grandchildren. But after six months, she began to feel down. She missed her job and the sense of purpose it had provided. Her primary-care doctor told her that she was suffering from depression and, after a 20-minute consultation, gave her a year’s prescription for Prozac. He did not schedule a follow-up appointment. The medicine relieved Dora’s immediate symptoms of depression, but also left her feeling fatigued. When the year was up, she called her doctor’s office, wondering whether she should continue the treatment. The secretary told her to leave a voicemail message letting him know she was running out of medication. To Dora’s dismay, the doctor simply called in a renewal of her prescription without seeing her.

Dora eventually sought an opinion from Glenmullen. He learned that she had witnessed the murder of her parents by Nazi soldiers as a child in Budapest, and had then been shipped to Auschwitz with her grandmother, who was sent straight to the gas chambers. After the war, Dora moved to the United States, married, raised a family, and taught for 30 years. “All her life, she worked hard to survive and to put the horrible Holocaust memories out of her mind,” Glenmullen explains. But she had more time on her hands after retiring, and the painful memories returned.

During a six-month course of psychotherapy, Dora was able to address her long-suppressed feelings. She eased off the drugs and her depression did not return. Talking about the secrets from her past was a relief—and so was overcoming dependence on medication. “How could [Dora’s] HMO have failed to inquire even minimally into her psychological state and life history?” Glenmullen writes. “Are Holocaust memories really a ‘disease,’ a ‘biochemical imbalance’ that should be ‘corrected’ with a pill?”
Then there is this
As professor of health economics Richard Frank explains in a recent article in the Milbank Quarterly: “Prescription drugs are ‘free inputs’ to the specialty mental-health delivery system, and [...] vendors have a strong economic incentive to substitute drug treatments for other mental-health services when possible. They do this by making it easier for patients to obtain referrals for medication management and psychopharmacology than referrals for psychotherapy.” According to Frank, carve-out arrangements—under both private insurance plans and Medicaid—have increased overall prescription rates for psychotropic drugs.
In other words, they go with the drugs because it's cheaper.

There is also an extensive discussion of the marketing and money angle in the psych drug industry.
The amount the pharmaceutical industry spent on television and print advertisements aimed at the public grew exponentially during the 1990s, particularly after the Food and Drug Administration released guidelines for the practice in 1997. (In 2004, drug companies spent $193 million on direct-to-consumer advertising for antidepressant medications, up from $85 million in 1999.) A Prevention Magazine survey in 2002 showed that 90 percent of the public have seen prescription-drug advertisements, and, according to a 2004 study published in the journal Medical Care, exposure to ads increases the likelihood of using a psychotropic medication to treat depression.
There is this from the conclusion:
Drug companies and health insurers are not the only ones responsible for our growing dependence on psychopharmaceuticals. “We’re all unindicted co-conspirators,” as Monrad professor of the social sciences Charles Rosenberg, an historian of science, puts it.

Americans are living in a cultural moment when the idea of a quick, material solution to psychic and emotional pain is extremely appealing. “As a society,” Rosenberg says, “we’ve never been more infatuated with visions of molecular and neurochemical—ultimately genetic—truth.” If our children are unmanageable, we are thankful for a diagnosis that shifts the blame from us to nature and offers the prospect of a tangible cure. If our fears of underperforming in our jobs or our marriages make us less productive, the lure of medication may be hard to resist. (If the guy in the next cubicle is on it, shouldn’t I be?)

The Harvard-educated physician in New York City reports that requests for antidepressants have increased most recently among her Wall Street patients. “They’re stressed about work, about their mortgages, about their kids’ school problems,” she says. “They want to stay competitive.” Psychotherapy takes time and may not work — and who can afford to fall behind?

Psychiatry’s crisis is not simply a problem of diagnostic precision or of misplaced economic priorities; it is also a moral predicament that reflects our times. How much of ourselves are we willing to give over to forces of scientific and technical control? [...] At some point, we will have to look beyond immediate symptoms if we hope to address the reasons for so much anxiety and dysphoria in our society.

Jerome Kagan offers a useful analogy:

There’s a place in a large city with very bad drinking water, and kids are always getting sick with dysentery. So you keep treating the dysentery, but meanwhile it would be much better to clean up the drinking water…. The drugs work on the dysentery for about 48 hours, but you’re not treating the problem. And the problem is not genetic.

Antidepressants taken during pregnancy may affect the unborn child

Another anti-depressent side effect not yet widely reported in the general press. A study in the Archives of General Psychiatry, August 2006 says that antidepressants taken during pregnancy may affect the unborn child.

Babies born to women who took the newer type of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs during pregnancy appear to be at increased risk of having a low birth weight and to develop respiratory distress, Canadian researchers report.

Lead investigator Dr. Tim F. Oberlander told Reuters Health that "our study was undertaken to distinguish the effects of maternal mental illness -- pregnancy-related depression -- from its treatment -- SSRIs -- on neonatal outcomes."

Oberlander and colleagues at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver examined population health data for almost 120,000 live births between 1998 and 2001. Fourteen percent of mothers were diagnosed with depression. The researchers compared the outcomes of babies born to 1451 depressed mothers treated with SSRIs during pregnancy and of those born to 14,234 depressed mothers who were not treated with SSRIs.

There was a significantly greater incidence of respiratory distress (13.9% vs. 7.8%) and longer hospital stays for infants born to depressed mothers on SSRIs than those born to untreated depressed mothers, the team reports in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Birth weight and gestational age were also significantly less in SSRI-exposed infants and a significantly greater proportion was born before 37 weeks.

"These findings are contrary to an expectation that treating depressed mothers with SSRIs during pregnancy would be associated with lessening of the adverse neonatal consequences associated with maternal depression," Oberlander said.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Conflict of interest exposed, Editor resigns due to bad publicity.

As seen here. Note that he did not resign because of any ethical concerns, or because of the presence of a conscience. This story has been bubbling up thrugh the media outlets for about a month now.

The editor of a medical journal has resigned after drawing sharp criticism for failing to disclose his financial ties to a medical-device manufacturer after publishing an paper that endorsed one of its products. The editor, Charles B. Nemeroff, chairman of Emory University’s department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, was also a co-author of the paper, which said the device was an effective treatment for depression. The medical society that publishes the journal, Neuropsychopharmacology, attributed his resignation, in part, to bad publicity over the paper.

All of that news comes from today’s Wall Street Journal, which last month published a long article about the medical journal’s failure to note that Dr. Nemeroff and seven of his eight academic co-authors had financial ties to the manufacturer, Cyberonics Inc. A ninth co-author was an employee of the company. The medical journal subsequently published a correction noting those relationships.

The Wall Street Journal article appeared at a time when other medical journals were also under fire for failing to enforce their conflict-of-interest policies.

Psychiatrist's sexual conduct scrutinised

From the Australian publication The Age

The Victoria Medical Practitioners Board will examine a judge's comments about former child psychiatrist Dr Selwyn Leeks when deciding whether to investigate sexual misconduct complaints against him.

County Court judge Jim Duggan last week awarded a woman $55,000 in damages after finding that Dr Leeks had taken advantage of her for his sexual gratification. The woman was a psychiatrist patient.

Judge Duggan said the controversial doctor's behaviour was reprehensible and a gross dereliction of duty. The patient, whose history includes physical and sexual abuse and psychiatric illnesses, saw Dr Leeks about eight times in 1979 or 1980.

During the consultations, which became increasingly more sexual, he fondled her breasts and digitally penetrated her. Dr Leeks claimed he had no recollection of the woman and denied any sexual impropriety.

But Judge Duggan said: "… this was a most serious series of assaults. The defendant grossly abused his position and took advantage of a particularly vulnerable patient."

Dr Leeks, 77, recently undertook not to practise any more, avoiding an inquiry by the medical board into allegations that he had used electric-shock treatment to punish young children in New Zealand in the 1970s.

The board had been investigating the electric-shock allegations for seven years. But after Dr Leeks promised to give up practising on the eve of a board hearing last month, the board wrote to 16 New Zealand complainants saying it had decided not to proceed with a formal hearing into his professional conduct.

The woman involved in the sexual misconduct case also complained to the medical board. A spokeswoman said the board would consider the court judgement when deciding whether to proceed with an investigation.

Friday, August 25, 2006

How to Break Up with Your Psychiatrist

As seen via Associated Content Mind you we are death on psychs and shrinks, but this is amusing, in that it sort of reads like breaking up with your significant other.

There are plenty of "How To" articles on how to break up with you friend, spouse, boss and significant other.. But who tells you how to break up with your psychiatrist, which can be particularly difficult for people who seek and need that kind of help. If you want to break up with your psychiatrist, counselor, psychoanalyst or shrink here is some practical advice.

Unfortunately, most people who seek out the help of a psychiatrist usually feel very vulnerable. But remember that the psychiatrist and patient relationship is primary a business one and should, for the most part, be treated accordingly. A person pays a professional (psychiatrist) for advice and to help them with their problems. If the therapist is failing the patient in this then the patient should think of breaking off the professional relationship.

Psychiatrist are people with feelings but some are better then others like in every profession. If a person finds themselves stuck with a counselor who, does not promptly returns their phone calls, fails to understand what they want, is inexperienced, and you do not feel comfortable with then maybe it is time to consider moving on.

Talk over your concerns with the psychiatrist, but if nothing changes after that, take action.

The truth is that sometimes like in a lot of relationships compatibility is the problem. The reason can have something to do with chemistry, taste, feeling understood, mutual interest or experience level.

Here are a few suggestions if you want to break up with your psychiatrist:

1. Talk over your discomfort with the psychiatrist and see how they respond. Most psychiatrists will respond with sympathy and will be glad you opened up to them. Continue to see them a few more times (a month) to see if anything changes. If things don’t change between you and the psychiatrist seriously consider moving on.

2. Once you have made the decision to move on, write down what you want to say to the psychiatrist before your next visit. It might be more easy for most people to stop going or to call the psychiatrist on the phone, but professional psychiatrist’s need constructive criticism from their patients to help them get better, so, if all possible, break up with the psychiatrist face to face.

3. Be honest with the psychiatrist. Tell them why you don’t want to see them anymore, be as specific as possible. For example, “When you do this... I feel like you are not paying attention to me. I don’t feel comfortable for you because...”


Makers of ADHD drug accused of price-gouging

Manufacturers charged up to 445% above approved cost, watchdog says - And some people protest that this is not a profit driven industry.

The manufacturers of two new medicines used to treat children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are being accused of charging excessive prices for the drugs.

Investigators for the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board allege consumers are overpaying for Janssen-Ortho's Concerta and Shire BioChem's Adderall XR by amounts ranging from 115 per cent to 445 per cent above the maximum level the board set for drugs of their type.

The medications use new time-release mechanisms to deliver chemicals used in older ADHD drugs, allowing patients to take just one pill a day, instead of three. But the price board's allegations say that the prices should have the same limits as the older drugs they claim to improve on -- Ritalin and Dexedrine.

The challenge to the pricing of ADHD drugs raises a difficult issue in health care policy: what degree of improvement on an existing drug should consumers, insurance companies or governments pay for?

The board requires that the limit on the prices of so-called "me too" drugs that enter the market be in line with older drugs, unless they are considered a breakthrough or substantial improvement on existing treatments, which Janssen-Ortho and Shire BioChem believe their medications offer.

But for those without insurance coverage, the costs of the new ADHD drugs can be onerous. For a family with three children with ADHD, monthly bills can run into the hundreds of dollars. For some, price is a determining factor in whether their children can take the medicine.

"It's embarrassing to ask an individual, 'Do you have a drug plan', because that is what is going to determine if I can suggest these medications," says Dr. Umesh Jain, a psychiatrist and chairman of the Canadian ADHD Resource Alliance.

(Dr. Jain acknowledges that his organization receives funding from Janssen-Ortho as well as many other drug companies.)

Neither Concerta nor Adderall XR are currently listed on the Ontario government's provincial formulary, so social-assistance recipients are not covered for the newer class of drugs. Some patients can get relief by making a special application under Ontario's Trillium drug plan.

Concerta wholesale prices range from $1.98 to $3.20 per capsule, depending on the dosage strength. It has the same active ingredient as Ritalin, which has price limits ranging from 50 cents to $1.45 per tablet for comparable dosages.

The same price limits are in place on Dexedrine, which has the same ingredient as Adderall XR. In all dosages, Adderall XR sells for $2.75 per pill.

A spokesperson for Janssen-Ortho Canada called Concerta a "technological breakthrough" in the treatment of ADHD and said the company will appear at the hearings to defend its pricing structure.

Hearings are currently under way in the Adderall XR case. The board will hold hearings into Concerta pricing in September.

The board is a quasi-judicial body set up by Parliament to regulate the prices of patented medicines.

If the board determines the prices were excessive, it can require the manufacturers to reimburse the overcharged amounts through a payment to the Crown or through further price reductions.

The board can also seek compensation for up to twice the amount overcharged.

Health Canada pulled Adderall XR off the shelves in February 2005 over safety concerns, but the drug was brought back later that year after manufacturer Shire BioChem agreed to a revised label warning of risks for people with structural heart abnormalities.

ADHD is considered the most common psychiatric disorder in children. A 1989 study estimated that between five to nine per cent of school-aged kids in Ontario are affected by ADHD.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Addiction — The New 'Twinkie Defense'

Commentary found on Fox News

Why should a 29-year-old former school teacher from Tennessee, already on probation for having sex with a 14-year-old boy, avoid jail time for sending him sexually explicit photos of herself? Simple — because she couldn’t help herself — she’s addicted to sex.

Pamela Rogers, who was under orders not to contact the boy, reportedly continued to send him text messages as well as explicit photos and video of herself. “What I did was wrong,” Rogers tearfully admitted. “I am willing to do anything to rehabilitate myself.”

Meanwhile, a preacher’s son and former university class president from Pennsylvania is hoping to avoid a jail sentence for bank robbery because, his lawyer argues, the “incident was a cry for help” with his internet gambling addiction. Not to be outdone, a Wisconsin attorney argued that his client should receive a lesser sentence because an addiction to crack cocaine had turned “a hard worker” of 13 years into a bank robber.

And when another Pennsylvania man was sent to prison for conspiring with his wife in her sexual assault of a teenage boy, addiction to alcohol was blamed.

So why are so many defendants playing the addiction card? Perhaps because, like the infamous “Twinkie Defense” before it, it just may be crazy enough to work.

In legal terms, "Twinkie Defense" refers to a criminal defendant’s argument that some extraordinary factor caused him or her to commit an alleged crime and therefore, criminal liability should be lessened or waived.

The expression comes from the 1979 murder trial of Dan White, a former San Francisco city supervisor who fatally shot Mayor George Moscone and City Supervisor Harvey Milk on November 27, 1978. During the trial, noted psychiatrist Martin Blinder testified that White had been depressed and was thus incapable of the premeditation required for a murder conviction. As evidence of White’s depression, Dr. Blinder stated that White (who was well known to be a fitness buff) had been uncharacteristically eating Twinkies and drinking Coca-Cola. Ultimately, White was convicted of the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to a mere seven years and eight months in prison.

Another “success” story involves a Chicago woman who stole $250,000 from an employer to finance her “shopping addiction” and was spared from prison by a federal judge who found that she bought expensive jewelry and clothing to “self-medicate” her depression. A bodybuilder who broke into six Maryland homes, set fire to three of them, and stole cash and jewelry, avoided jail time because, it was reported, his “frenzied” use of anabolic steroids had left him suffering from “organic personality syndrome.” A Florida woman was able to avoid jail time for prostitution after she explained that her reliance on Prozac had resulted in her becoming a “nymphomaniac” (the early 90’s version of today’s “sex addict”) which, in turn, caused her to prostitute herself.

But playing the addiction card to mitigate consequences is not only useful in the criminal context; it can be a nifty public relations tactic as well.

Brandon Davis, the wealthy oil heir and Paris Hilton pal (perhaps best known for being caught on video making crude remarks about Lindsay Lohan’s “fire crotch”) was reported to have entered rehab for substance addiction not because he felt he needed it, but for “public relations” reasons. Apparently, his family encouraged the move to offset the considerable damage his antics had caused to his mother’s personal charity.

And who can forget the December 2003 Patriots vs. Jets game when “Broadway Joe” Namath humiliated himself during a side-line interview with ESPN’s Suzy Kolber? In response to Kolber’s question about his former team’s recent struggles, Namath turned to her and slurred, “I wanna kiss you. I couldn’t care less about the team struggling… I wanna kiss you!” Within weeks, Namath was in rehab for alcohol addiction; a month later he was back on ESPN expressing regret for having done the “wrong thing”; by October 2004, Namath was the subject of a flattering USA Today profile entitled, “’Broadway Joe’ Puts Life Back on Track.” With respect to the “I wanna kiss you” moment, Namath’s agent proclaimed “That probably turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to Joe.”

Pat O'Brien, co-host of "The Insider," announced he was entering rehab for substance addiction just a day after a series of embarrassing phone messages featuring his distinctive voice surfaced on the Internet. One such message stated, "I want to (expletive) go crazy with you. I want to talk dirty to you...get another woman up...Let's get crazy, get some coke." Several days after getting out of rehab, O'Brien appeared in a prime-time special with talk show therapist Dr. Phil McGraw where he expressed remorse for the voice-mail incident and apologized for what his substance abuse had done to his family. O'Brien returned to work on "The Insider" the next day — just in time for sweeps.

Of course, none of this is to say that addictions should not be taken seriously and that those who seek treatment for them should not be applauded for doing so. But for those who invent or exploit addictions or abstract “syndromes” in an effort to avoid real accountability, a Twinkie by any other name is still a Twinkie.

So what’s the moral of this story? The next time you get caught doing something stupid — whether it’s speeding, faking an illness to avoid work, or literally getting caught with your hand in a cookie jar — don’t just stand there foolishly accepting responsibility for what you’ve done. Simply explain that some addiction and/or Twinkies made you do it. It couldn’t hurt — and who knows, it might even get you off the hook!
Isn't modern psychiatry wonderful?

State finds psychiatric hospital didn't properly monitor patient who died

As reported in the Boston Globe and elsewhere (see this TV news report as well)

State investigators in Massachusetts have found that a psychiatric hospital did not properly monitor a young woman who was found dead in her locked room last December.

Nora Tosti, 23, who had checked herself into Bournewood Hospital in Brookline for three days of drug treatment, had been dead for nearly six hours when she was found unresponsive Dec. 8, according to an investigation by the state Department of Mental Health reported Thursday by The Boston Globe.

The department's commissioner, Elizabeth Childs, said in a letter this month that Tosti's death might have been prevented if hospital workers had carefully checked her well-being every 30 minutes, the Globe reported.

Childs ordered the hospital to improve its training after state investigators found employees weren't properly trained to perform safety checks and "acted in (a) manner that was dangerous."

Hospital officials did not return several telephone calls seeking comment on Wednesday, the Globe said. In the DMH reports the Globe obtained, hospital workers said they did the required checks on Tosti and reported seeing her stir at 3:45 a.m. She was found dead shortly before 8 a.m. that day.

DMH chief of staff Patricia Mackin said her department, which licenses all psychiatric facilities, reprimanded the hospital, and "within our regulations we feel we took appropriate action."

Tosti's parents, Allan and Barbara Tosti of Arlington, said state officials should have done more.

"I want them to make sure this type of thing won't happen again," Barbara Tosti said.

The medical examiner found Nora Tosti died of chronic drug abuse.

Her family said the finding doesn't make sense because their daughter had been doing well in school and work. She entered the detox program voluntarily after police found drugs in her car during a traffic stop.

Barbara Tosti told the Globe she believes her daughter overdosed, perhaps because she couldn't tolerate hospital medication she was given, or reacted to an anti-anxiety drug found in her bloodsteam after her death. She said a visiting friend may have given that drug to her daughter.

Mackin said the medical examiner did not find evidence of an overdose or that there was a link between friends' visits and Tosti's death
Note that the required checks where supposed to be done every half hour, and that when she was found, she had been dead for an estimated six hours. You can bet there will be a lawsuit in this unfortunate death.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

ADHD Drug to Get Stronger Warning due to link to Increased Risk of Heart Disease.

As seen on Health Central

U.S. officials have asked a pharmaceutical company to add a label warning of a risk for heart problems for patients taking the prescription drug Dexedrine, a stimulant used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The warning describes some instances of sudden death in children and teens with structural cardiac abnormalities or other heart problems. It also mentions various potential psychological side effects, including hallucinations or delusional thinking.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration could not be reached for comment, and it was unclear what other ADHD drugs might be affected by this new warning.

Back in May, the FDA had asked makers of similar stimulant ADHD drugs to add the warnings.

"This had already been done with other stimulants," said Dr. Melvin Oatis, an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine's Child Study Center. "Dexedrine is in an older class of stimulants, and not much new had been done with that."

A letter sent from Dexedrine's maker, GlaxoSmithKline, to health-care providers was posted Tuesday on the FDA's Web site. The letter detailed the planned changes to prescription recommendations.

In March, an FDA pediatric advisory committee had recommended that ADHD drugs not carry the more severe "black-box" warnings and instead use simpler language and include more information on the labels about the heart risks posed by the drugs. But the month before, a different FDA advisory committee had reached the opposite conclusion, and called for a black-box warning on ADHD drugs because of possible cardiac risks.

The FDA has apparently settled for the less-severe advisory.

"This is not a black-box warning," Oatis said. "There's some association [between Dexedrine and heart problems]. They're not making this a causality."

An estimated 2.5 million American children under the age of 19 take ADHD drugs, as do 1.5 million adults.

This represents a huge surge in use, experts said.

In addition to "serious" cardiovascular side effects, the warnings issued since last spring cite possible suppression of children's growth, as well as heightened risks for psychosis, bipolar illness and aggression.

Oatis added that the new warning "should remind clinicians to review the side-effect profiles of medications. It reminds you to take more of a history of family issues regarding stimulant use and medical cardiac risk."

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Suicidal man sent to jail by psychiatrist, where he then kills himself.

As reported here from Australia.

The state's most senior psychiatrist transferred a man to the Adelaide Remand Centre despite being told he would kill himself if sent there, an inquest has heard.

Glenside Hospital clinical director Professor Norman James yesterday stood by his decision, telling State Coroner Mark Johns he did not believe Neil James Brooks, 43, would commit suicide.

Prof James was giving evidence into the death of Mr Brooks, who suffocated himself with a plastic bag five months after he was detained at the remand centre in December, 2002.

Kate Hodder, counsel assisting Mr Johns, earlier outlined how Mr Brooks had been admitted to Glenside's intensive care unit, Brentwood North, after being found near the body of his girlfriend, Tracy Jane Foster, 42, at their Osborne home.

Mr Brooks, a transsexual, had strangled Ms Foster before trying to kill himself by taking an overdose of drugs and cutting his wrists and left leg.

Ms Hodder said another Glenside psychiatrist, Dr John Clayer, had told police investigators he had wanted to keep Mr Brooks at Brentwood North but was over-ruled by Professor James because he allegedly wanted to clear beds in the unit.

The inquest heard the incident occurred when the SA mental health system was under extreme pressure, with patients being shackled in emergency departments and kept under guard in general hospital wards until beds became available at Glenside.

Prof James yesterday disputed a sworn statement by Dr Clayer that he ordered Mr Brooks to be discharged to free up a bed, saying he personally assessed him and, along with nursing staff, did not believe there was a clinical need for Mr Brooks to remain at Glenside.

"With me, he was very specific that he would kill himself if he went to the remand centre," Prof James said.

"He said he would only do it if he went to the remand centre.

"He was happy, though, to go to James Nash House (the state's criminal forensic facility)."

Prof James said he disagreed with Dr Clayer's assessment that Mr Brooks would kill himself if sent to the remand centre, saying people with suicidal intent usually were not specific about when or where they would take their lives.

Files obtained by the police investigators showed Glenside staff advised remand centre medical staff to ensure he was constantly monitored because he was at "high risk of suicide".
Glad to see they have their priorities straight.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Psychiatrist charged after road rage shooting

As reported by WBIR of Knoxville, Tennessee.

The Highway Patrol has charged a Murfreesboro psychiatrist with three counts of aggravated assault after an apparent road rage incident on Monteagle Mountain.

Safety Department spokeswoman Julie Oaks says the incident occurred shortly after noon yesterday as two minivans were descending the mountain, eastbound on Interstate 24.

The trooper's report says a Nissan Quest carrying an adult and two eleven-year-olds from Tullahoma was exiting the highway when three shots were fired from a Dodge Caravan, with at least one striking the Nissan.

The driver got back onto the interstate, followed the Dodge and called police.

Trooper John Scissom stopped the Dodge near Kimball and found three spend shell casings in the glove compartment and a pistol under the front passenger's seat.

He arrested Dr. Alex Abelardo Fider, identified as a psychiatrist at the VA hospital in Murfreesboro. He was a passenger in the van being driven by his wife.

Fider was released today on a $10,000 bond, pending a September 12th court appearance.

DHS take custody of Wife away from Psychiatrist

A strange and bizarre case reported here

A Tulsa psychiatrist who used psychotropic medicine to drug his wife -- once a prominent faith healer and evangelist -- has been jailed, ordered to wear an ankle monitor and told to stay half a mile away from the woman, records show.

The bizarre court case involving Dr. Carl R. Peterson and his wife, Martha "Vicki" Peterson, began a year ago, when the Department of Human Services took custody of Vicki Peterson in an emergency guardianship. Though such cases are usually sealed under state law, Carl Peterson filed some public court records with the Oklahoma Supreme Court in an appeal of a contempt of court conviction against him.

Wendell Clark, Carl Peterson's attorney, said he could not comment on the case.

Carl Peterson, 71, is the former medical director for two Tulsa hospitals -- Brookhaven and Doctors' Hospital -- and former president of the Tulsa Psychiatric Society, according to news accounts.

He was a psychiatrist at Oral Roberts University's City of Faith Hospital in the 1980s and has written about the effects on the brain of speaking in tongues.

Between 1988 and 2004, Carl Peterson operated Christian Psychiatry Services in Tulsa. His Oklahoma medical license was suspended last year after he failed to reapply
for it, records show.

Vicki Peterson, 69, was a regular guest on Christian television shows in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1982, her one-hour daily show, "Vicki Live," was broadcast from Tulsa. A 1985 Chicago Tribune story listed her as belonging to "an elite sorority" of female evangelists.

Vicki Peterson, also known as Vicki Jamison-Peterson, has been featured on several gospel albums and traveled around the world conducting faith healing services, according to news accounts.

She married Carl Peterson about 23 years ago after the death of her first husband; the two have no children together.

Donna Vorhees, Vicki Peterson's cousin, said she called DHS last spring after noticing a change in her cousin's behavior over the past several years. She said her cousin was normally a talkative, social woman but appeared drowsy and "spacy."

"As things got worse she wasn't out at all. She was in bed 24/7. . . . She told me 'Carl gives me medicine to help me sleep.' "

Vorhees said she knew of no health reason that would require her cousin to take sleep medications.

In a petition filed with the Oklahoma Supreme Court in April, Carl Peterson's attorney states: "Peterson admitted giving some medications to Vicki to help her sleep."

Vorhees said she called DHS last year and reported that she believed Vicki Peterson was in danger. She said she has since learned her cousin is suffering from physical and behavioral problems possibly caused by repeated exposure to drugs.

Records show Tulsa police were called several times to the Petersons' home in 2005, including a possible overdose of Vicki Peterson one month before she was taken into DHS custody.

Vorhees said a friend of Carl Peterson's, Dr. Don King, has since intervened in the case and was recently appointed Vicki Peterson's guardian. She said family members are willing to serve as guardians and do not support King's appointment.

King is a doctor at Cancer Treatment Centers of America. His attorney, Andrew Harrison, declined comment.

The case began July 20, 2005, when Tulsa County Special District Judge Sarah Day Smith gave DHS guardianship over Vicki Peterson and her estate, records show. State law allows DHS to take custody of so-called "vulnerable adults" who are unable to make decisions for themselves and are being abused, neglected or exploited by a caretaker.

In a court ruling, Smith states "there was significant evidence that . . . Dr. Peterson takes the drug Seroquel himself and . . . gave Seroquel to Mrs. Peterson against her best interest and against Mrs. Peterson's physician's advice."

Seroquel is a psychotropic medicine used to treat bipolar mania. Common side effects of the drug include drowsiness.

Vicki Peterson was moved to the home of her longtime secretary and friend, Judy Upjohn, records show, while Carl Peterson was allowed eight hours of daily visitation with his wife.

In October 2005, DHS filed motions to cease Carl Peterson's visitation with his wife. Court exhibits included a sealed envelope of pills and a prescription label for Carl Peterson. Smith entered an order the following month prohibiting Carl Peterson from visiting his wife in the bedroom of Upjohn's home, records show.

On Dec. 16, Smith found Carl Peterson guilty of contempt of court after evidence was presented that he took Seroquel to Upjohn's home, records show.

"Dr. Peterson intentionally attempted to circumvent the Nov. 22, 2005, order and past orders of this court with regard to bringing medications to supervised visitation premises," Smith's order states.

Smith's ruling allowed Peterson to have only supervised visitation with his wife in a public setting with 48 hours notice to DHS.

"There are to be no medications brought to the setting of any pre-arranged visitation," states Smith's ruling, which prohibited Peterson from visiting his wife in Upjohn's home.

In January, police were called to Upjohn's home after Carl Peterson arrived there. He was transported to the hospital complaining of chest pains, reports show.

Later that month, Smith issued an order freezing the couple's assets and granting DHS' request for a "full accounting and investigation" of the couple's finances. In February, she issued an order directing Peterson to restore $88,000 in "marital assets," records show.

The Petersons' home near Southern Hills Country Club is worth more than $300,000, land records show. Through a trust, they also own a south Tulsa office building, valued at $200,000, where Carl Peterson worked.

On Feb. 22, Smith again found Carl Peterson guilty of contempt of court for violating rules of visitation. Smith ordered him to wear a GPS ankle monitor and remain at least a half-mile from his wife.

"The court finds that four violations of this court's order . . . have occurred with regard to the GPS 'no go' zone established by this court," Smith writes in a ruling.

"The court finds the four violations to be willful."

Smith sentenced Carl Peterson to six months in jail, with all but 10 days suspended, and delayed sentencing on a second contempt of court conviction. She warned Peterson to stay half a mile away from his wife or he would be jailed.

Peterson was booked into jail and released the same day, records show. In an appeal with the Oklahoma Supreme Court, he claims the punishment is excessive, that DHS failed to provide proper notice and that Smith made several errors.

At a hearing this week, Smith is scheduled to consider the second contempt count.

Peterson's petition to the Supreme Court states he is charged with contempt of court due to "brief visits down the hallway of the Upjohn home either to check on his wife's health, to notify her he was present or to kiss her good bye. No harm to Vicki was threatened, alleged or proved."

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Psychiatric Counseling after a disaster found harmful

As seen here

Counsellors who provide immediate help to victims at disaster scenes increase the likelihood of their patients going on to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, research has found.

Dutch scientists who studied 236 survivors of traumatic events discovered that those given one-to-one counselling or "emotional debriefing" straight away were more likely to demonstrate signs of post-traumatic stress disorder six weeks later.

A team led by Berthold Gersons, a psychiatrist at the University of Amsterdam medical school in Holland, compared the experiences of disaster survivors who had received "emotional debriefing" with those of victims who had been left to cope by themselves.

They used a technical scoring system devised by the American Psychiatric Association, which incorporates levels of depression, anxiety, and physical symptoms such as insomnia to provide a score, where a lower number indicates a poorer mental state. Non-counselled victims scored, on average, 65. In contrast, those who had received counselling scored an average of 60.

Dr Gersons, whose report was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, concluded that there was evidence that "emotional debriefing" was causing "hyper-arousal" a pronounced awareness of the trauma that the patient had been through.

He said: "By immediately talking through what's happened to you with someone else, it could be that you're reinforcing what's happened in your memory. Immediately after a shocking event, the brain is likely to be very vulnerable."

Dr Gersons suggests that a month should be allowed to elapse before counselling is offered to those showing signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. The same advice is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.

The phrase "emotional debriefing" developed from the term "critical incident stress debriefing", coined by an American psychologist in the 1980s.

Gareth Vincenti, a consultant psychiatrist and the medical director of the Cygnet Hospital in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, said that the findings confirmed his concerns that poorly-trained counsellors risked doing more harm than good.

"For a while we've doubted the effectiveness of this so-called emotional debriefing, but this research is the final nail in the coffin," said Dr Vincenti. "In the 1980s, every time there was a disaster, right behind the ambulances and the fire engines, you would have the armies of counsellors running up the road.

"They must have meant well, although you wondered whether some of them had a slightly unhealthy interest in people's misfortune. There was never any evidence that it worked. It was just one of the those things that seemed like a good idea and grew into an industry."
As noted here:
Now, I'm sure the researchers and Mr Vincenti are both too polite and too professional to say it, but doesn't this seem to demonstrate that the grief counselling industry was actually set up not to serve the victims but rather to line the pockets of ambulance chasing head shrinkers?

Whatever, I guess neither the cloggie researchers nor Mr Vincenti will be getting invites to the annual Grief Counsellors' Christmas Bash this year.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Fatal Side Effect Stops New Psych Drug

Information From New Scientist Here is the info without the feel good marketing

Concerns about a potentially fatal side effect have crushed plans to market modafinil as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A proposal to market it for treating ADHD hit a snag in March when a child taking part in a clinical trial developed a life-threatening skin condition (New Scientist, 1 April, p 8).

Manufacturer Cephalon of Frazer, Pennsylvania, tried to convince the Food and Drug Administration that the child's rash was not a reaction to the drug. It has now abandoned its ADHD plans after the FDA refused to approve modafinil without further extensive safety studies.

"It's really unfortunate," says James Swanson, a psychologist at the University of California, Irvine, who was involved in Cephalon's ADHD trials. He still believes modafinil is safer than other stimulants, which may cause hallucinations in a minority of children.

Psychiatric patients' privacy breach feared

As reported in the Toronto Star While important, it looks like the psych is trying to use the privacy issue as a way to stop evidence against him showing up in court. We are skeptical of his motives. As far as patient rights go, it looks to be a bloody mess.

Hundreds of patients of an Ontario psychiatrist charged with possession of child pornography are unaware that confidential records containing their most intimate thoughts have been in the possession of the Peel Regional police force for the past three years, the Toronto Star has learned.

Dr. Allan Beitel says the confidential records, stored on the hard drive of a computer seized by the police, include detailed notes on all of the psychoanalysis sessions he conducted at his Hamilton office between about 1994 and 2004.

They are also said to include details relating to patients who did not require psychoanalysis or psychotherapy for their problems and contact information, including names and addresses, for all of his patients, including those from a previous 10-year practice in Toronto.

Experts consulted by the Star say the retention of the records — without notice to the patients — raises serious concerns about protection of patient privacy in the criminal justice system, and whether patients will continue to speak freely with their analysts if their confidentiality cannot be assured.

Beitel is now awaiting trial on charges including possession of a stolen laptop computer and possession of child pornography that police allege was stored on the computer's hard drive.

Details of the pretrial court proceedings cannot be reported because of a publication ban.

Friday, August 18, 2006

More than one in four people at Waikato Hospital who get electric shock treatment do not consent.

Shock treatment statistic 'barbaric'

More than one in four people at Waikato Hospital who get electric shock treatment do not consent.

One opponent calls the statistic barbaric, but medical staff say her views are based on out-dated ideas of the treatment.

They say electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) is performed under general anaesthetic and allows many mentally ill people to live normal lives.

Hamilton patients rights advocate Anna de Jonge wants all ECT stopped.

Health Ministry statistics show that in the 2004-05 year 93 non-consented treatments were given to patients at Waikato Hospital. This amounted to 30 per cent of all treatments.

Nationally, 23 per cent of the 307 patients who received ECT did not give their consent.

Waikato Hospital staff said that in the year to March 2006, 23 patients received treatment, six of whom did not give consent.

Anna de Jonge called it barbaric slaughterhouse treatment.

"Treatment without consent is assault," she said.

"You can't just grab somebody and shock them. Because it's done in secret behind closed doors that doesn't make it okay."

Waikato Hospital consultant psychiatrist John Strachan said the treatment was used for depression when anti-depressants failed or for people who were psychotic or suicidal.

Patients were deemed not competent to give consent if they lacked the ability to understand information, process it rationally and communicate a choice. At this point, a second opinion was needed from another psychiatrist before treatment could start.

No one was ever forcibly held down and given the treatment. Unlike in the 1950s, patients were fully anaesthetised and had muscle relaxants.

Waikato Hospital general manger mental health Chris Harris said Ms de Jonge's views were based on perceptions of what occurred about 50 years ago. He said it would be wrong to remove ECT as an option. For a number of people it had been a positive, life-changing experience.

Hamilton woman Margaret Parry, who received treatments in the 1950s, disputed that the treatment was better now.

"I think it's the worst thing you can do to another human being."

ECT works in the same way as anti-depressants, affecting the messages sent by neurotransmitters in the brain.

Psychiatrist defends use of electric shock therapy

If you beat someone long enough you can drive them into submission. Only now, we beat them with electro-shock and give them brain damage as well. It the treatment is so beneficial and harmless, let's use it as least once on every psychiatrist in training. This outrage as reported in the Daily Post from New Zealand.

Shock treatment use has plummeted nationally but that's no reason to believe it's a "fringe" method, a leading psychiatrist says. Ministry of Health director of mental health Dr David Chaplow said there had been decline in use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) nationally but that did not make the increasing use among Rotorua and Taupo people wrong.

Lakes District Health Board has the highest use of the treatment in the country with 22 people per 100,000 receiving the treatment. It is three times the national average of 7.5 per 100,000 people.

Nationally the use of ECT has plummeted since the beginning of the decade. In the 2001/2002 year 92 people per 100,000 were treated with ECT but just 7.5 per 100,000 received the treatment last year.

The figures prompted Dr John Read, a senior psychology lecturer at Auckland University, to call for the health board to launch an urgent inquiry, saying the figures were of concern.

ECT involves passing an electric current through the brain to induce a seizure, altering brain chemistry to regulate a patient's mood. [...] Those against it say it is primitive, causes long-term brain damage and should be banned.

Lakes District Health Board isn't commenting but has said it is looking at the figures quoted in the report and carrying out "some analysis around that information".

Dr Chaplow said nationally ECT had gone out of fashion but that was no reason to think the Lakes board was over-using the treatment.

"There is also a perception among lay people that putting electricity through [someone's] head must be a bad thing." [...]
Perception? Why isn't he volunteering for it? See also this story: Rotorua electric shock capital

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Canada: Liberals pounce on Tories for attempting to recruit Quebec's controversial Psychiatric radio talk host

As seen on

A popular Quebec radio host and psychiatrist who has suggested blacks on average have a lower IQ than whites, said he was wooed by the Conservatives to run for the party in the next election.

However, Pierre ''Doc'' Mailloux said he rejected the overtures from former Conservative cabinet minister and recruiter Pierre H. Vincent because he didn't want to have to wear a tie to sit in Parliament.

''I can't accept that they oblige me to wear a tie while a Sikh has the freedom to wear his (turban) on his head in the federal Parliament,'' Mailloux said. ''It is urgent in Canada to affirm the secular nature of our country... Religions are cancers of society.''

With a million listeners a week, Mailloux is well known in Quebec.


Mailloux continues to practice as a psychiatrist and prides himself on his work developing cheese from non-pasteurized milk research, he said, that has meant he hasn't paid income tax for 30 years.

Conservative party spokesman Serge Prive suggested that any invitation to have Mailloux run in central Quebec was Vincent's personal initiative. While Vincent is a member of the party's candidate-recruiting committee, the idea of Mailloux running for the Conservatives never reached official levels of the party, Prive said.

Prive refused to say whether the party would have endorsed Mailloux's nomination, saying he does not answer hypothetical questions.

The Liberals demanded the Conservatives explain whether they endorse Mailloux's controversial views.

''I was shocked to learn that the Conservatives had tried to recruit Doc Mailloux two months ago,'' said Marlene Jennings, a Montreal Liberal MP, and one of the few blacks in Parliament.

''This implies the Conservatives endorse the psychiatrist's statements that black people have a lower IQ than white people, that Sikhs are bozos and more of the same.''

''After trashing the Kelowna Accord, the Conservatives have the audacity to court Dr. Mailloux who has said in the past that aboriginal people were less intelligent than white people,'' added Liberal Indian Affairs critic Anita Neville.

Mailloux, who is a member of Quebec's College of Physicians, is a household name in Quebec, appearing on radio and television shows broadcast across the province. However, his name is also a familiar one to the CRTC, the federal broadcast regulator, which rapped him over the knuckles for saying on-air that Sikhs were ''bozos.''

That paled in comparison, however, to the furor that was triggered last September when Mailloux suggested during a popular Radio Canada television show that on average blacks had a lower IQ than whites.

In an interview Wednesday, Mailloux said some people have exaggerated his comments, making it sound like he was suggesting that all blacks were less intelligent than all whites.

''I said there was a difference in the average IQ between ethnic groups. In all ethnic groups there are very intelligent people, but in some groups there are fewer than in others.''

Mailloux said American studies have shown that on average, American children of Asian-origin scored highest on IQ tests followed by whites, hispanics with Amerindians and blacks in last place.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

South Carolina's AG McMaster: 'Drug Companies Over-Charged Taxpayers'

As seen here, and in this original Press Release (pdf)

Attorney General Henry McMaster announced today (Aug 3rd) that the State of South Carolina has filed a lawsuit to recover over $40 million in taxpayer funds. McMaster believes several pharmaceutical companies fraudulently manipulated the prices of Medicaid and State Health Plan prescription drug claims. “We intend to do everything we can to reclaim those funds for the taxpayers of South Carolina,” McMaster said.

South Carolina Medicaid and the State Health Plan are the largest two health plans in the state, covering over 1.1 million individuals or almost 30% of the population of South Carolina. Together, the two plans have processed approximately $5 billion in prescriptions since 1997; in the year 2005 alone, they processed approximately $1 billion in taxpayer-funded medications.

The Attorney General’s office began reviewing this matter approximately one year ago. The defendants named in the State’s lawsuit are:

* Abbott Laboratories, Inc.;
* Baxter International, Inc. and its subsidiary Baxter Healthcare Corporation;
* Dey, L.P., formerly known as Dey Laboratories;
* Boehringer Ingelheim Roxane, Inc. and its subsidiaries Roxane Laboratories, Inc. and Ben Venue Laboratories, Inc.;
* Schering-Plough Corporation and its subsidiaries Warrick Pharmaceuticals Corporation and Schering Corporation.

Since 1995, South Carolina Medicaid has spent over $300 million on prescription drugs from these companies and the State Health Plan of South Carolina has spent over $100 million. The State will allege that the pharmaceutical companies intentionally misreported the average wholesale price (AWP) of selected drugs which increased the reimbursements paid by Medicaid and the State Health Plans, thereby overcharging South Carolina taxpayers over $40 million dollars

When a patient fills a prescription at a pharmacy, the patient’s health plan reimburses the pharmacy for the cost of the drug based on the drug’s AWP. The AWP is a figure reported by the pharmaceutical company that is supposed to be associated with the average price at which pharmacies buy their drugs.

False and inflated AWP figures for drugs provide greater financial incentives for pharmacies to buy and sell the drugs. Manipulating the average prices also provides higher sales revenue for the pharmaceutical companies, greater volume and market share for the drug companies, and dramatically steeper drug costs for Medicaid and the State Health Plan.

“Our state’s taxpayers are the real victims of this pricing scheme,” McMaster said. “In bringing this lawsuit, we have two major objectives. First we will seek to recover funds wrongfully taken from taxpayers over a period of years; and, secondly, we hope to restore public confidence in the stewardship of public funds.”

McMaster said the free enterprise system is strengthened when companies are held to high ethical standards. “I believe in free enterprise. There’s nothing wrong with companies making a healthy profit. That’s the American way,” said McMaster. “But companies that conceal actual prices and manipulate records to improperly increase profits at the expense of taxpayers must be held accountable.”

“One obligation of this office is to protect taxpayers from fraud, McMaster said. “We take that obligation very seriously.”

State Health and Human Services Director Robby Kerr stated "Health and Human Services applauds the Attorney General's efforts to protect the interest of the Medicaid program and the citizens of South Carolina."

Rob Tester, Director of the State Health Plan, acknowledged that rising drug costs are large issues in every state budget lawmakers deal with. "Recovering any taxpayer dollars is critical, and we have asked the Attorney General to protect our interest in this action, Tester said." Since 2000, South Carolina Medicaid expenditures on prescription drugs have doubled to approximately $669 million. Similarly, the State Health Plan spent approximately $1.35 billion on prescription drugs between 2000-2005 whereas it only spent $420 million between 1995-1999.

Currently, twenty-one other states have filed similar lawsuits alleging that a number of pharmaceutical companies knowingly inflating drug prices. The Texas Attorney General has already successfully recovered $55.1 million from many of the same companies cited in South Carolina’s action. In related cases filed by the federal government, pharmaceutical companies have paid approximately $2 billion in criminal and civil liabilities.

The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office will handle the case in conjunction with a team of private attorneys including Mike Kelly, T. English McCutchen, J. Steven Schmutz, J. Preston “Pete” Strom, Jr., and the law firms of Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., and Miner, Barnhill, & Galland, P.C.

These private attorneys, who have been designated “special counsel” to the Attorney General, have agreed to represent the State at no cost to the taxpayers on a contingency basis, meaning that they will receive no compensation unless one or more of the lawsuits are successful.

Furthermore, the attorneys have agreed to work under a model contract developed by the Attorney General to limit attorney compensation. The contract, one of the most strict and conservative in the nation, limits and reduces the percentage of attorneys’ fees as the amount of the settlement award increases.

Psychiatrist Ousted for Curing Patients

Satire, as seen here

Birmingham Psychiatrist Dr. Hiebold Moranis was recently stripped of his credentials and permanently banned from Psychiatric practice because of his record of curing patients rather than “treating” their symptoms. His actions were deemed contrary to modern psychiatric practice by the licensing board and by the Psychiatric Profit Society.

Dr. Moranis raised the ire of his colleagues and the licensing board because he employed a non-approved method of diagnosis and treatment, involving actual medical testing for underlying conditions, medical treatment as needed, nutrition, allergy treatments, de-tox programs and sometimes a stern talking to.

So far, all of Dr. Moranis’ patients were “cured” in a time period from 1 week to 3 months. By survey, 97.3% of Dr. Moranis’ patients rated his services as “excellent”, compared with the 2.1% average rating of psychiatrists in the area. This astonishing patient response was what drew attention to Dr. Moranis in the first place. The Birmingham Civic Bugler newspaper called Dr. Moranis the “Psych Patient Panacea”. Dr. Moranis bristled at the title, stating “I don’t think of my clients as patients, I think of them as friends and I treat them like people. Sometimes people have a hard time in life and they need a little help or even advice. They do not need a psychiatrist talking down to them and telling them they have some permanent illness that only exists to make the psychiatrists rich. They certainly don’t need a lifetime of false labels, drugs, shocks to the brain, lobotomies, etc.”

The licensing bureau’s statement says it all. “We can’t have just anyone going around and ‘curing’ patients, now can we?” stated the Dr. Steven Dubiouski of the licensing bureau, “I mean really, how do we know that his patients were cured? Just because they feel better, go back to work and have successful lives is no reason to not give them a lifetime of psychiatric treatment. With standard psychiatric treatment, cure is impossible but you can be assured that they will be in treatment for the rest of their lives, which, of course, is better for everyone. When someone is cured and released, you just never know what might happen. They are free to do anything they want. They might even run for parliament, or might someday have something else go wrong. Under psychiatric care, we avoid all this mystery, because the person will always be a mental patient, simple, stress-free, and will be supporting the industry that got him where he is, psychiatry and drug companies. Surely anyone with half a brain fried by ECT or drugs can see that.”

A spokesperson for the Psychiatric Profit Society had this to say, “Psychiatrists and drug companies have rather expensive offices, homes and golf course memberships to maintain. We depend upon each patient to bring in tens of thousands of pounds during their lifetime. Dr. Moranis seems to care more about his patients than his fellow psychiatrists.”

After receiving word that he could no longer practice psychiatry, Dr. Moranis shrugged his shoulders and said “modern psychiatrists are mostly just pill pushers these days anyways; we should all ask ourselves whether modern psychiatric treatment is designed to help the patient, or to help the pharmaceutical companies.” He voluntarily resigned his membership in the Psychiatric Profit Society, citing that he disagreed with victimizing innocent people for profit, no matter how many BMWs you can buy with the ill-gained money.

In an interview for the Daily Newslammer, Dr. Moranis opened up and told the story of why his work diverges so radically from ‘standard’ psychiatry. “I spent 17 years practicing psychiatry. I would listen to people for a few minutes, make a decision on which label to ‘diagnose’ them, then scribble out a prescription for whichever drug the pharmaceutical company sales representative wanted to push that particular month,” said Dr. Moranis. “Then one day, I received three new patients funneled through the TeenScreen program, a sort of ‘marketing program’ where they screen children for mental illness, convince the child and the parents that they have a brain disease, then send them off for treatment. All three children came in with their parents and had a slip of paper from the TeenScreeners. One child’s slip stated that he was sent for a diagnosis of Clinical Depression, another one was for Anxiety Disorder. The third was some gibberish about suspected paranoid delusional tendencies with schizophrenia and ADHD with possible Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. All the parents seemed a little bewildered by the whole experience. None of them had even given permission for the TeenScreen. In this school district they used what was called passive consent, where if a parent didn’t stand up on the nearest car bonnet and scream NO, their child was screened.”

“The parents wanted help for their children, if they needed it, but none of them really wanted my standard 5-minute diagnosis/prescription. I decided to play along and really check out every possible cause for their children’s difficulties, and then I could write my prescriptions and feel good about it. However, the oddest thing happened; I completely cured all three children in a matter of a few weeks. Little Johnny had food allergies, corn and eggs, that caused his anxiety. Once we modified his diet, no more anxiety. The next child, Jason, was simply saddened over his grandfather’s recent passing. I talked with him a bit, sent him off to his local minister for a little succor and a talk about life, death, etc. and he was fine. The third child, Martin, was a little more serious. He actually had an undetected case of cancer of the lymph nodes which was causing his erratic behavior and disturbing feelings. I arranged for him to get cancer treatment from a local university and his mental symptoms went away within two weeks of starting treatments for his illness. Their astounding recoveries from permanent, incurable psychiatric disorders perplexed me. So I tried it on another patient. I found that the less I used psychiatric methods, the better my patients became.”

“I reported the success with Johnny, Jason and Martin to the TeenScreening staff and they promptly dropped me off the referral list. Evidently they don’t care much about whether parents and children are happy with the treatment, they only want the children to get psychiatric treatment.”

Dr. Moranis is continuing his work into finding and addressing the true causes of mental illness symptoms. He is hoping to find a cure for psychiatrism, the desire to become a psychiatrist, falsely label others as mentally ill, and then to treat them with harmful methods for a profit.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Pooflinger’s Syndrome

As seen here on SlashNot

The National Asperger’s Institute has released clinical diagnostic criteria for nuerotypical (normal) humans, placing the list of symptoms under the umbrella spectrum disorder “Pooflinger’s Syndrome.” Dr. Sarl Cagan explains the reason and meaning of the diagnosis.

“Recent research suggests that neurotypical individuals are, in fact, capable of relatively high functioning language abilities. This discovery, along with the fact that they exhibit at least some facility with computers, indicates that a clinical diagnosis can be helpful in getting these individuals the help that they so desperately need.”

Symptoms of Pooflinger’s Syndrome include:

* Sensitivity to nonverbal social cues such as facial expressions and body language
* Self-subordination into primate hierarchical groups.
* Late or incompletely developed mathematical development.
* Inability to develop even the simplest lexical parser.
* Inability to comprehend the preceding symptom.
* Inability to create satire.

“A clinical diagnosis of Pooflinger’s Syndrome can open up federal assistance grants to get these people the help they need, before it’s too late.”
Yes, another fictional psychiatric disease, presented tongue in cheek

Review of scientific journals shows steadily increasing conflict of interest in funding of drug trials

As seen in this report

When scientific research appears in a peer-reviewed journal, readers are supposed to be able to trust that the research is honest, unbiased and accurate -- especially when it concerns prescription drug safety. Thus, when journalists at mainstream news publications in turn relay that scientific research to the general public, the public should be able to trust that information.

Unfortunately, in light of a recent review of major scientific journals, the information contained in many drug safety studies seems to be more corporate-spun PR than genuine science, especially when it concerns psychiatric drugs. According to new findings by a team of researchers from Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, between 1992 and 2002, the number of psychiatric drug studies paid for by pharmaceutical companies more than doubled -- from 25 percent in 1992 to 57 percent in 2002.

Psychiatrist Igor Galynker and a team of researchers reviewed clinical research from four major psychiatric journals -- Archives of General Psychiatry, American Journal of Psychiatry, Journal of Clinical Psychiatry and Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology -- and discovered that eight out of 10 studies paid for by the pharmaceutical company making the drug in question showed favorable results. That's an unbelievable 80 percent success rate. Conversely, when studies were paid for by pharmaceutical companies competing with the firm making the drug in question, only three in 10 studies showed positive results. The studies conducted with no support from the pharmaceutical industry showed favorable results five out of 10 times.

The issue at hand is bias, and sadly, it's not a new phenomenon. It is also not limited to psychiatric drug studies. According to a June 2006 Agence France-Presse (AFP) article, private drug companies finance 75 percent of the studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association and The Lancet in Britain. Do the math. That's a lot of potential bias.
It's like politics. The big companies prefer folks who stay bought, and who give them good return on their dollars spent. Full report at the link.