Friday, June 29, 2007

A Reasoned Response

Normally we try to maintain a reasoned response to the accumulated madness and crimes we see committed by the mental health industry. Some people are not quite so restrained.

Here is one over the top response, complete with colored text, colorful language, plentiful obscenities, and capitalized phrases.

of course the name of the Blog, "Rock the Truth", and the name of the article "Culture of Death" sort of give a clue

And yet, if you read through the emotion, what the author is saying is not totally outrageous.

They starts with a interesting premise:


WTF is WRONG with a SOCIETY where the GREATEST GIFT of GOD'S CREATION -- the GIVING of LIFE -- would make a woman DEPRESSED?!
In other words there is a fundamental reaction to the prospect of bringing a child into a frightening, terrifying world, where the child might not survive. Even if the mother glibly blows it off and says that everything is alright, and she doesn't understand why she feels this way.

Recent Studies suggest that this phenomena might be more widespread than first thought, although the implications are horrifying for many.

We can't quote much else because of the language, but we encourage people to check it out just for the over the top nature of the writing

Thursday, June 28, 2007

CIA StrangeLove Psychiatrists altered mind of a girl aged 4

From the Australian

Easily lost, on page 425, in the mass of the CIA's notorious "Family Jewels" files is a short paragraph outlining "potentially embarrassing Agency activities".

"Experiments in influencing human behaviour through the administration of mind- or personality-altering drugs to unwitting subjects."

Of all the heinous acts committed by the CIA in the name of national security, these experiments, done on the agency's behalf by prominent psychiatrists on innocent victims - including children as young as four - may be the darkest.

"We have no answer to the moral issue," former director Richard Helms infamously said when asked about the nature of the projects.

The release of the Family Jewels documents revealed the CIA handsomely funded these real-life Dr Strangeloves and engaged pharmaceutical companies to help its experiments.

The agency appealed to Big Pharma to pass on any drugs that could not be marketed because of "unfavourable side effects" to be tested on mice and monkeys. Any drugs that passed muster would then be used, according to an internal memo, on volunteer US soldiers.

The Family Jewels files do not provide further detail into the numerous mind-control programs, such as MKULTRA, covertly propped up by the agency. In 1953, MKULTRA was given 6per cent of the total CIA budget without any oversight.

Only the tip of a large iceberg had been previously released by the CIA under Freedom of Information Act provisions.

Yesterday's acknowledgments will comfort those who have long campaigned for truth and restitution.

The nature of the experiments, gathered from government documents and testimony in numerous lawsuits brought against the CIA, is shocking, from testing LSD on children to implanting electrodes in victims' brains to deliberately poisoning people with uranium.

"The CIA bought my services from my grandfather in 1952 starting at the tender age of four," wrote Carol Rutz of her experiences.

"Over the next 12 years, I was tested, trained, and used in various ways. Electroshock, drugs, hypnosis, sensory deprivation, and other types of trauma were used to make me complain and split my personality (to create multiple personalities for specific tasks). Each alter or personality was created to respond to a post-hypnotic trigger, then perform an act and (I would) not remember it later.

"This Manchurian Candidate program was just one of the operational uses of the mind-control scenario by the CIA.

"Your hard-earned tax dollars supported this."

The US began these experiments after World War II when it made a grab for hundreds of Nazi scientists and doctors who had been researching mind control in concentration camps, fearing they would fall into Soviet hands.

US military intelligence leaders were paranoid that they were falling behind the communist bloc in the brainwashing race.

The programs, though carefully hidden, continued into the 1970s - when Helms ordered much of the documentation to be destroyed.

Some conspiratorial theorists believe the CIA completed its goal, initially outlined in the early 1950s, of altering a personality and having someone "perform an action contrary to an individual's basic moral principles".

The attorney for Sirhan Sirhan, Lawrence Teeter, has said his client was programmed to assassinate Robert Kennedy in 1968.

Theodore Kaczynski, the Unabomber, volunteered to take part in CIA mind-control experiments when he was a student at Harvard University in the late 50s.
More skeptical members of the blogging community think that what has been revealed is not all there is, not by far.

The proof food additives ARE as bad as we feared

From the Daily Mail

Parents have been warned to avoid artificial additives used in drinks, sweets and processed foods amid a link to behaviour problems in children.

A study funded by the government's Food Standards Agency(FSA) is understood to have drawn a link with temper tantrums and poor concentration.

There are also concerns about allergic reactions such as asthma and rashes.

The findings are potentially explosive for the entire food industry, which faces the need to reformulate a vast array of children's products.

Vyvyan Howard, professor of bio-imaging at Ulster University and an adviser to the FSA, called on parents and manufacturers to protect children.

He said: "It is biologically plausible that they could be having an effect.

"Parents can protect their children by avoiding foods containing the additives. I personally do not feed these sorts of foods to my 15-month-old daughter."

He called on manufacturers and supermarkets to remove the additives on a precautionary basis.

He said: "It is the right thing to do to remove these additives from children's foods. They have no nutritional value, so why put them in?

"There are very tight restrictions banning these additives from foods designed for children under the age of one.

"But why stop there? Children's brains and nervous systems are developing beyond the age of one."

Prof Howard is not a member of the FSA committee assessing the latest research, however he did advise on how the study should be conducted.

Experts on the FSA's Committee on Toxicity(CoT) are expected to say that parents who want to minimise any risk of an adverse reaction should avoid these additives.

Some leading companies have already responded to mounting evidence of harm caused by chemical additives, particularly the vivid colours used to dress up products.

Smarties has dropped artificial colours with the result the blue variety has been axed.

Sainsbury's recently announced a ban on artificial colours and flavours from 120 own label soft drinks. This follows similar moves by Marks & Spencer and the Co-op.

The research, carried out by a team from Southampton University, appears to confirm earlier studies suggesting additives can cause reactions, either individually or as a cocktail.

The colours, tested on groups of three-year-olds and eight-to-nine year olds, were tartrazine (E102), ponceau 4R (E124), sunset yellow (E110), carmoisine (E122), quinoline yellow (E104) and allura red AC (E129).

The team also looked at the effect of the preservative sodium benzoate (E211), which is commonly used in soft drinks.

Precise details of the research findings are being kept secret until they can be peer reviewed and published in a scientific journal.

However, a source at Southampton University told the food industry's magazine, The Grocer, that their results are in line with earlier findings, published in 2004.

The original research, which took place on the Isle of Wight, involved giving fruit drinks to children aged three. In some weeks, these were laced with additives.

Parents reported changed behaviour when the youngsters were given the additives.

However, the original findings were questioned because they relied on anecdotal reports from parents while the fact the children were so young made it difficult to measure their behaviour in a meaningful way.

Because of these doubts, a second tranche of research was commissioned following advice from an expert committee, which included Professor Howard.

The Founder of the Hyperactive Children Support Group, Sally Bunday, said there is good evidence that artificial additives can have a harmful effect.

She said: "The consequences can be very serious for both children and adults who are sensitive to these artificial colours.

"The reaction in children can be horrendous in terms of mood swings with crying, screaming, inability to sleep. There can also be physical reactions such as difficulty in breathing on skin rashes.

"For a young person there is also a risk of quite angry mood swings."

The founder of the organic brand Organix, Lizzie Vann, has been campaigning for a ban on all artificial additives from children's food.

"The use of artificial additives in children’s foods means we are conducting a long-term experiment on our children’s health," she said.

"If the Government is serious about improving children’s nutrition the ban on artificial food additives must be a priority."

The Food & Drink Federation, which speaks for manufacturers, said the colours and chemicals used by the industry are proven to be safe.

"The use of food additives is strictly regulated under European law," it said.

"They must be approved as safe by the appropriate European scientific committee before they can be used...Consumers' intake of food additives is also closely monitored.

"A recent European Commission report on 'Dietary Food Additive Intake' indicated that consumption of all types of additives was within the strict safety limits set by the legislation. Particular attention was given to consumption by children."

The FSA and Southampton University refused to comment until the research has been officially published.

Anti-Psychotics Prolong Schizophrenia, according to research

Of course, the news articles phrase it more nicely, putting a quaint PR edge on it. They say: People with schizophrenia not taking anti psychotics are more likely to recover This ties in with our earlier report that Schizophrenia recovery rates are worse in developed nations, where there are more fancy medications to hand out. As seen in this report. with a link to the original research

People diagnosed with schizophrenia who are not on antipsychotics are more likely to experience recovery than those taking the medication, according to an American study.

Over 15 years, schizophrenia patients not on antipsychotics showed more periods of recovery than those taking antipsychotics, states a research paper in last month’s Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease.

Researchers reported that, after 10 years, 79% of patients on antipsychotics were psychotic, whereas 23% of those not on medication were psychotic. After 15 years, 65 per cent of patients on antipsychotics were psychotic, whereas only 28% of those not on medication were psychotic.

The study’s authors - Martin Harrow and Thomas Jobe of the department of psychiatry at the University of Illinois in Chicago – concluded that “not all schizophrenia patients need to use antipsychotic medications continuously throughout their lives.”

They stated that certain patient characteristics – such as a “favorable personality” – helped those not on medication to experience recovery.

The study was on 145 patients - 64 diagnosed with schizophrenia, and a control of 81 patients who had another psychotic diagnosis, such as paranoid disorder.

The research was part-funded by America’s National Institute of Mental Health.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Belleville psychiatrist billed government for 40-hour day

For those keeping track, there are only 24 hours in a day, but this freak billed for 40. As seen here

Belleville psychiatrist Ajit Trikha seemed to be able to pack a lot into one day.

On 76 days from 2001 to 2004, Trikha billed Medicare and Medicaid for more than 24 hours per day for patients' individual therapy, according to a federal agent's court affidavit.

Twice, Trikha said he packed 40 hours' worth of appointments into one day.

In court on Tuesday, Trikha admitted the truth — that he and his company, TRX Health Systems, had submitted fraudulent billings to Medicare and Medicaid between 2000 and 2005. He agreed to pay back $1.85 million.

Trikha pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis to two counts of health care fraud. Under federal sentencing guidelines, he could face 30 to 37 months in prison and a fine of $6,000 to $60,000, the plea agreement says.

He also agreed to forfeit proceeds from the scam, which may include property in Belleville and Town and Country, documents show.

TRX pleaded guilty of mail fraud and agreed to pay a $1,000 fine, $10,911 restitution and spend five years on probation. Trikha is listed as president, secretary and treasurer of TRX, which was started in 2000.

Asked where the money from the fraud went, Trikha's lawyer, John Stobbs, said, "Dr. Trikha was scammed." He would not elaborate.

In the plea agreement, Trikha agreed to help prosecutors investigate other criminal conduct, both in Illinois and elsewhere.

Court documents show that Trikha acknowledged billing for a 45- to 50-minute session when he spent little or no time with the patient, billing for sessions when no patient was present and billing for group therapy when he had "far exceeded" the recommended 12 patients per session.

He also admitted billing for services provided when he was actually out of the country.

Trikha's plea agreement is not specific about the individual false billings, but an affidavit filed by Special Agent Kenneth Wells II of the inspector general's office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is more specific.

Wells' affidavit, the basis of a search warrant for Trikha's offices in 2005, says investigators were first alerted by a Medicare contractor that analyzed billings and found Trikha billing for a certain type of group medical psychotherapy more often than any other doctor in Illinois. He also was at the top for several types of individual psychotherapy sessions, the affidavit says.

Trikha sent 683 claims to Medicare and Medicaid for services provided while he was on a trip to Amsterdam in 2003, and 492 claims when he went to Paris in 2004, the affidavit says.

The indictment cites Medicaid billings for 92 patients when he was in London in 2005.

On March 18, 2005, Trikha billed Medicare and Medicaid as if he had provided services to 83 patients, but investigators watching his office saw patients in the office for only about 2 1/2 hours, the affidavit says.

Later that year, it says, a woman complained that Trikha was billing for psychotherapy sessions for her mother even though she had Alzheimer's and was unable to communicate.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

3 Famous Psychology Studies That Would Be Illegal Today

NeatoRama has an excellent post on 3 Famous Psychology Studies That Would Be Illegal Today. As they say:

What happened to the good old days, when a scientist could just rustle together some test subjects and let loose in the lab? You know, without having to worry about petty humane things…like ethics!
Complete with pretty photos of the culprits
1. Stanley Milgram’s Obedience Studies
In this Yale University study, participants were told they were part of an experiment on the effects of punishment [wiki] on learning. They were instructed to teach another participant (the “learner”) a list of words, and whenever the learner made a mistake, deliver an electric shock via a generator with levers labeled in 15-volt increments (up to 450 volts–where the label read “Danger: Severe Shock” and “XXX”).

2. Stanford Prison Experiments
In the summer of 1971 Philip Zimbardo put Stanford Students in jail. Students, who volunteered and were paid, were randomly assigned to be either guard or prisoner. The prisoners were surprised at their homes, handcuffed, and taken by police cruiser to makeshift jail in the basement of the psychology department. There they were stripped of their personal belongings and given smocks, nylon caps, and identification numbers. The uniformed guards were simply told to enforce the rules.

3. Little Albert
John Watson [wiki] and Rosalie Rayner conducted one of the most famous and controversial studies in psychology using an 11-month-old boy who came to be known as Little Albert [wiki]. With Little Albert, Watson demonstrated that many fears are conditioned through an association with other fearful situations.

See the original story at the blog link, where you will also find many links to additional information

Psychologist enters plea in fraud case

Via the Jackson Sun

Jackson psychologist Dr. Lorne Allan Semrau entered a not guilty plea in federal court Wednesday after he was indicted Monday on fraud charges, said Semrau's Covington-based attorney J. Houston Gordon.

A federal grand jury indicted Semrau, charging him with submitting $4 million worth of false and fraudulent claims to defraud health care benefits programs such as Medicare and Medicaid in Tennessee and Mississippi, according to a press release from U.S. Attorney David Kustoff on Tuesday.

Gordon on Wednesday said Dr. Semrau had no comment on the case.
"Dr. Semrau entered a not guilty plea in federal court,'' he said. ''We will let the process work its way. That's why we have courtrooms and juries."

Semrau, a native of Canada and a resident of Madison County, studied at Vanderbilt University. He is owner, president and CEO of Superior Life Care Services and Foundation Life Care Services.

Semrau's wife, Kat, owns The Painted Lady and Art Under a Hot Tin Roof in downtown Jackson.

When The Jackson Sun contacted Kat Semrau at home Wednesday evening, she referred all questions regarding her husband's case to their attorney.

The indictment charges Lorne Semrau with laundering money in order to continue the billing scheme.

According to the indictment, Semrau contracted with nursing homes in Tennessee and Mississippi to provide medication and mental health services to residents.

Semrau then allegedly contracted with psychiatrists to perform the services pursuant to the nursing home contracts, a press release said.

The indictment states that Semrau then implemented a billing scheme to defraud Medicare, Medicaid and others by submitting, through his companies, claims for services that were not provided by the physicians and claims that Semrau knew to be false.

The indictment further says that between 1999 and 2005 Semrau submitted fraudulent billings to health care benefit programs in excess of $4 million.

The health care charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.

This indictment follows an investigation by the U. S. Attorney's Health Care Fraud Task Force in the Western District of Tennessee, the release said.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Big Pharma Chases Dogs And Cats

From this report, Drug companies are looking everywhere for new markets

Is the pharmaceutical industry going to the dogs? In a way, the answer is yes.

A flurry of regulatory approvals for dog medicines in the past several months demonstrates a growing interest in prescription drugs for pets. These pets don't just have owners—they have people. And those people want their dogs and cats to grow old with them. In an increasing number of countries, people have extra income to spend on Fido and Fluffy to keep these companions healthy and comfortable through their geriatric years.

In response, drug companies are learning to comb their growing libraries of drugs for humans to find products that will improve pet health, bring in additional income, and possibly help advance R&D for human health.

Over the past decade, products for dogs and cats have been the biggest and fastest growing sector of the animal health market, says Nigel Chapple, an analyst with the consulting firm Wood Mackenzie. "A lot of new products are entering the marketplace—a very sizable marketplace—that is increasingly competitive and very dynamic."

Big drug companies such as Pfizer, Novartis, Schering-Plough, and Wyeth that are known for making medicines for humans have animal health divisions, too. And Eli Lilly & Co., which has a food animal division called Elanco, announced its entry into the pet market in January. The pet division will take the Lilly name and focus on making brand-name medicines for dogs and cats. Companies continue to develop and manufacture products for animals raised for food, but pet products abound.

Thanks to a spate of drug approvals, veterinarians can now offer dog owners two diet drugs; treatments to ease separation anxiety, vomiting, and congestive heart failure; and a novel therapeutic cancer vaccine that might benefit humans.

Last November, the European Medicines Agency granted Johnson & Johnson's Janssen Animal Health unit approval for Yarvitan, the world's first drug for managing dog obesity. Pfizer Animal Health won approval in January for Slentrol, the first drug approved by the Food & Drug Administration for that purpose. In February, Pfizer received FDA approval for Cerenia, the first drug to treat acute vomiting in dogs and to prevent vomiting caused by motion sickness during car rides or chemotherapy.

There's more. Lilly received FDA approval in April to market its first drug for dogs. Called Reconcile, the drug treats separation anxiety and contains fluoxetine, the active ingredient in the company's blockbuster antidepressant Prozac.


Commonly prescribed antidepressants associated with lower bone density in older men and women

Via EurekAlert

The class of antidepressant medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors may be associated with an increased rate of bone loss in older men and women, according to two articles in the June 25 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) treat depression by inhibiting the protein that transports serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in sleep and depression, according to background information in the articles. This protein has recently been discovered in bone as well, raising the possibility that SSRIs may affect bone density and the risk of fracture. SSRIs account for about 62 percent of antidepressant prescriptions in the United States, and are often prescribed to the elderly.

Susan J. Diem, M.D., M.P.H., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and colleagues studied 2,722 older women (average age 78.5 years) beginning in 1997 through 1999. At that time and again an average of 4.9 years later, researchers measured women’s total hip bone density and also that of two subregions. At each visit, the participants were asked to bring in all the medications they had used within the past two weeks, including SSRIs and tricyclic antidepressants, which work through a different mechanism.


“One potential explanation for our findings is that SSRI use may have a direct deleterious effect on bone,” the authors write. “This theory is supported by findings of in vitro and in vivo laboratory investigations.” Some data suggest that SSRIs may interfere with the function of osteoclasts and osteoblasts, cells responsible for the regular breaking down and rebuilding of bone in the body.

“Our findings suggest that, in this cohort, use of SSRIs is associated with increased rates of hip bone loss,” the authors conclude. Although some of this association may have occurred because women who were prescribed SSRIs were different from those who were not prescribed SSRIs, “further investigation of SSRI use and rates of change in bone mineral density in other populations with longer follow-up is warranted given the recent description of serotonin transporters in bone.”

In a related paper, Elizabeth M. Haney, M.D., of Oregon Health & Sciences University, Portland, and colleagues conducted a similar study with 5,995 men age 65 and older (average age 73.7). The men’s bone density at the hip, including subregions, and at the base of the spine were measured between 2000 and 2002. Participants were asked to bring all medications to their clinic visit, where they were also given a physical examination and asked about other health and lifestyle factors.

[...] Total hip bone mineral density was 3.9 percent lower among SSRI users than among men who didn’t use any antidepressants. Similarly, spine bone mineral density was 5.9 percent lower among SSRI users than among non-users. There was no significant difference in either hip or spine density between men who took tricyclic antidepressants or trazodone and those who did not take antidepressants.

“These associations are biologically plausible and clinically important,” the authors conclude. “Because SSRI use is prevalent in the general population, our findings have a potentially important public health impact. If confirmed, people using SSRIs might be targeted for osteoporosis screening and preventive intervention.”

Strong Opposition to the Diagnosis of Video Game Addiction.

Now we all know that such an addiction would be treated with heavy medications, and maybe some electro-shock, possibly in the style of Clockwork Orange (Well, maybe not Clockwork Orange.) But the search for new diseases to medicate suffered something of a setback over the weekend with heavy opposition to the designation at the American Medical Association's annual meeting. As seen in this report

Doctors backed away on Sunday from a controversial proposal to designate video game addiction as a mental disorder akin to alcoholism, saying psychiatrists should study the issue more.

Addiction experts also strongly opposed the idea at a debate at the American Medical Association's annual meeting. They said more study is needed before excessive use of video and online games--a problem that affects about 10 percent of players--could be considered a mental illness.

"There is nothing here to suggest that this is a complex physiological disease state akin to alcoholism or other substance abuse disorders, and it doesn't get to have the word addiction attached to it," said Dr. Stuart Gitlow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.

A committee of the influential physicians' group had proposed video game addiction be listed as a mental disorder in the American Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders, a guide used by the American Psychiatric Association in diagnosing mental illness.

Such a move would ease the path for insurance coverage of video game addiction.

Even before debate on the subject began, the committee that made the proposal backed away from its position, and instead recommended that the American Psychiatric Association consider the change when it revises its next diagnostic manual in 5 years.

The psychiatrist group has said if the science warrants, it could be considered for inclusion in the next diagnostic manual, which will be published in 2012.

Dr. Louis Kraus of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and a psychiatrist at Rush University Medical Center, said it is not yet clear whether video games are addictive.

"It's not necessarily a cause-and-effect type issue. There may be certain kids who have a compulsive component to what they are doing," he said in an interview.

But addictive or not, too much time spent playing video games takes away from other important activities.

"The more time kids spend on video games, the less time they will have socializing, the less time they will have with their families, the less time they will have exercising," Kraus said. "They can make up academic deficits, but they can't make up the social ones."

The AMA committee will consider the testimony and make its final recommendation to the AMA's 555 voting delegates, who will vote on the matter later this week.

The Entertainment Software Association, which represents the $30 billion global video game industry, said more research is needed before video game addiction should be categorized as a mental disorder.

The drugs don't work, warn top psychiatrists

From The Sunday Independent (Ireland)

A damning indictment by the country's most eminent psychiatrists paints a picture of patients' lives being needlessly put at risk by a cocktail of dangerous drugs, and a profession which is in the back pocket of vested interests in the pharmaceutical industry.

"The psychiatric world has to be cleaned up - it's appalling. There are over 200,000 people on over-the-counter tranquilliser drugs," says Dr Michael Corry, a consultant psychiatrist.

"In Ireland, there are 25,000 people on Zyprexa and 20,000 people on Seroxat. With Seroxat, there is a one-in-500 suicide risk. They get totally overwhelmed by a sense of disinhibition, and they literally feel they can't go on, and they kill themselves."

Coincidentally, a damning Oireachtas report on the adverse side effects of pharmaceuticals, which was released last week, has come to more or less the same conclusions.

The report stated that "the influence of the pharmaceutical industry is unhealthy". It also called into question the relationship between the pharmaceutical companies and psychiatric doctors, who are financially rewarded in the form of payments for ghostwriting medical-research reports, get free travel, research grants and numerous other perks.

The all-party committee report also took a swipe at the widespread prescribing of psychiatric drugs. "Their [drugs] use in therapy represents unwarranted medical intervention in what are often normal emotional difficulties," they said. "The side effects include behavioural disorders, physical illness, dependence and even suicide."

The report went on to say that some of the drugs "were of doubtful benefit" and that "where side effects are well known, they seem not to be appreciated or are ignored by prescribers".

The Oireachtas Committee is now calling for the setting up of a Patient Safety Agency.

Other senior doctors raise the issue of the use of drugs such as Clozaril, a widely used schizophrenia drug which can produce a litany of life-threatening reactions.

"It's a very dangerous drug - and it's not the only one," said Dr Corry, who runs the Dun Laoghaire-based Institute of Psychosocial Medicine.

"It's an absolute scandal that the Medicines Board has licensed these drugs - surely they can unlicense them, seeing as we have clear irrefutable evidence they are dangerous?"

Professor Pat Bracken, consultant psychiatrist and clinical director of the West Cork Mental Health Service, says that many of the woes befalling psychiatry can be directly traced to the vast influence which the pharmaceutical industry now wields over the academic faculties that teach psychiatry - an influence gained through the doling out of vast research grants.

"There are growing concerns about the way in which the pharmaceutical industry has come to dominate psychiatry," he warns. "The profession should be independent and be seen to be independent. And if it is not, it is a concern for everyone."
The drugs, like infamous internet goggles, don't work. They do nothing.

12 per cent of all Canadian prescriptions of anti-psychotics were for children aged 8 or under, including three-year-olds.

From The StarPhoenix of Saskatoon, Canada

Antipsychotics are being widely prescribed to children with behaviour and mood problems, with a significant proportion going to children under nine, new research shows.

Ninety-four per cent of 176 child psychiatrists in Canada surveyed are prescribing powerful drugs known as atypical antipsychotics for a variety of disorders and symptoms, including anxiety, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and "poor frustration tolerance."

While most prescriptions were for children 13 and older, a "surprising" number were for the very young: 12 per cent of all prescriptions were for children aged eight or under, including three-year-olds.

None of the drugs has been officially approved for use in children.

Risperidone (brand name Respirdal) was the most commonly prescribed atypical antipsychotic to children, followed by olanzapine (Zyprexa) and quetiapine (Seroquel).

All are in a different class from Ritalin, a stimulant used to treat attention deficit disorder in children.

Originally developed to treat schizophrenia and mania, so-called ATAs are now increasingly being used to treat non-psychotic disorders in adults, children and teens.

"These medications are currently being used off-label without clear guidelines for indications, dosing and monitoring," researchers report in the most recent issue of the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.

"There is an urgent need for more data regarding safety and monitoring of these medications in children."

In the U.S., the number of visits to a doctor that ended with a patient under 20 being prescribed an anti-psychotic soared six-fold between 1993 and 2002.

The new Canadian survey can't answer just how many children or teens in Canada are on antipsychotics. But it shows prescribing by child psychiatrists and pediatricians who specialize in developmental problems is "ubiquitous."

"The trouble with a study like this is, it doesn't tell us whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. We just know it's happening," says lead author Dr. Tamison Doey, head of the division of child and adolescent psychiatry for the city of Windsor and an adjunct professor at the University of Western Ontario.

"Intuitively we all say, 'Geez, these are young kids to be on medicine."


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Osteopathic vs Allopathic Medicine, and Their Relationship with Psychiatry.

With the recent controversy of Paris Hilton's doctor not being an MD, but being a Doctor of Osteopathy instead, there has been confusion regarding Osteopathy.

Osteopathy is a form of medical practice fully certified in the USA (but not in Europe) as being equal and comparable to conventional medicine. In this case, conventional medicine is called Allopathic medicine. In many ways, D.O.s resemble medical doctors (M.D.s). Both D.O.s and M.D.s are fully licensed physicians. They provide a full range of services, from prescribing drugs to performing surgery.

Courtesy of Wikipedia:

Within the United States, Osteopathic medicine is a form of medical training and practice that provides all of the benefits of modern medicine including prescription drugs, surgery, and the use of technology to diagnose disease and evaluate injury. It also offers hands-on diagnosis and treatment through a system of therapy known as osteopathic manipulative medicine. Osteopathic Medicine emphasizes helping each person achieve a high level of wellness by focusing on health education, injury prevention and disease prevention.

As with Doctors of Medicine (M.D.s), D.O.s educated in the United States are fully licensed physicians and surgeons who practice the full scope of medicine.

In recent decades the term "allopathic" has been applied to medical schools accredited by the American Medical Association (which bestow M.D. degrees), as opposed to "osteopathic" for those accredited by the American Osteopathic Association (which bestow D.O. degrees).

Currently, there are 27 accredited osteopathic medical schools in the United States and 125 accredited U.S. allopathic medical schools. D.O.'s may be found within any medical specialty but a majority of them work within primary care medical fields.

One of the tenets of Osteopathic Medicine, as stated on their website, is that the body has the potential to make all substances necessary to ensure its health and that no medical approach can exceed the efficacy of the body's natural defense systems. Therefore, teaching the patient to care for his or her own health and to prevent disease is part of a physician's responsibility.

However, it is a responsibility not exclusive to osteopathic doctors.

Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary also defines it as a "term applied to that system of therapeutics in which diseases are treated by producing a condition incompatible with or antagonistic to the condition to be cured or alleviated. Called also heteropathy." The American Heritage Medical Dictionary defines allopathic medicine as as: "A method of treating disease with remedies that produce effects antagonistic to those caused by the disease itself."

A typical example presented is the use of a laxative to correct a condition of constipation.

Other terms that have been proposed to describe the conventional Western medical system of practice include: conventional medicine, Western medicine, evidence-based medicine, clinical medicine, scientific medicine, regular medicine, mainstream medicine, standard medicine, orthodox medicine, and authoritarian medicine.

Readers will carefully note the positioning of one form of medicine vs another by the labels they choose for themselves vs others.
As seen here, apparently an Osteopath can be a psychiatrist ...

but done well, they would seem to be opposed to the usual quickie fix drug regimen

This being said, the current quickie philosophy of psychiatry of fixit fast with drugs, etc. would be opposed by Osteopathy.

So we then need to speculate about the professional and ethical demands placed on the usual osteopath, and wonder if Dr. Charles Sophy has betrayed the principles of his profession, given the results he has achieved with Miss Hilton, and the potential conflicts of interests that he seems to have run into in his professional practice with Miss Hilton.

As one person has noted:
Add in the bizarre behavior of celebrity physicians and touchy-feely nature of psychiatry, and poor Dr. Sophy seems like a news story waiting to be told.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Russian Psychiatrists claim whipping therapy cures depression and suicide crises

Of course this is from Pravda, which has become well known as the Russian equivalent of the National Enquirer, with an occasional taste for weird articles similar to those seen in the Weekly World News. With all that , we'll have to label this one as satire, although we could only wish they were serious. As seen here

The effect is astounding: a patient starts seeing only bright colors in the surrounding world

Russian scientists from the city of Novosibirsk, Siberia, made a sensational report at the international conference devoted to new methods of treatment and rehabilitation in narcology. The report was called “Methods of painful impact to treat addictive behavior.”

Siberian scientists believe that addiction to alcohol and narcotics, as well as depression, suicidal thoughts and psychosomatic diseases occur when an individual loses his or her interest in life. The absence of the will to live is caused with decreasing production of endorphins - the substance, which is known as the hormone of happiness. If a depressed individual receives a physical punishment, whipping that is, it will stir up endorphin receptors, activate the “production of happiness” and eventually remove depressive feelings.

Russian scientists recommend the following course of the whipping therapy: 30 sessions of 60 whips on the buttocks in every procedure. A group of drug addicts volunteered to test the new method of treatment: the results can be described as good and excellent.

Doctor of Biological Sciences, Sergei Speransky, is a very well known figure in Novosibirsk. The doctor became one of the authors of the shocking whipping therapy. The professor used the self-flagellation method to cure his own depression; he also recovered from two heart attacks with the help of physical tortures too.

”The whipping therapy becomes much more efficient when a patients receives the punishment from a person of the opposite sex. The effect is astounding: the patient starts seeing only bright colors in the surrounding world, the heartache disappears, although it will take a certain time for the buttocks to heal, of course,” Sergei Speransky told the Izvestia newspaper.

The whipping therapy has not become a new discovery in the history of medicine. Tibetan monks widely used it for medical purposes too. Soviet specialists used a special method of torturing therapy at mental hospitals. They made injections of brimstone and peach oil mixture to inspire mentally unbalanced patience with a will to live. A patient would suffer from horrible pain in the body after such an injection, but he or she would change their attitude to life for the better afterwards.

”People might probably think of me as a masochist,” Dr. Speransky said. “But I can assure you that I am not a classic masochist at all,” he added.

The revolutionary method may take the Russian healthcare to a whole new level. The method is cheap and highly efficient, as its authors assure. Why not using something more efficient, a rack, for example?

Psychiatrists as Film Critics call 'Hostel II' painfully compelling

From the Boston Globe. Where in a collection of psychiatrists are not terribly disturbed by what could be called the cutting edge in 'torture porn' a slasher flick called 'Hostel: Pasrt II' First the introduction:

On a recent afternoon, five shrinks sat inside a movie theater and watched as a naked lady, hanging upside down over a bathtub, was tortured to death by another nude woman using a scythe.

This was not some twisted version of a Harvard Med School retreat. It was a screening of "Hostel: Part II," the latest slasher flick by Newton native Eli Roth.

Sheldon Roth, the filmmaker's father and a professor of psychiatry at the medical school, organized the outing at the Globe's request. He recruited four others -- two men and two women -- to analyze the film by his son, a writer/director considered to be at the forefront of a genre not so kindly referred to as "torture porn."

"This is one of the most misogynistic films ever made," a New York Times reviewer wrote of the original "Hostel" last year.

None of this worried Sheldon Roth. [Psychiatrist father of the film director]

While we expect that professionals in the field on the human mind to be capable of handling some pretty grim stuff, this does not mean we would expect them to take pleasure in the perverse. But we forgot, these are psychiatrists.
There wasn't much chatter in the theater. The shrinks sat quietly, watching the action as the lead characters, three college-age women taking a tour of Slovakia, were stalked, captured, and eventually offered up to the violent deviants paying to live out their fantasies in a grimy factory building.

Kennedy took a certain amount of pride in not turning away from the screen.

"I had heard about the first 'Hostel' and my kids had said, 'Mom, you're never going to be able to get through this,' " she said.

Fabricant admitted she had to close her eyes during a scene in which a young child was killed. She also found the scythe tough to take. She was asked about another scene, in which a man is castrated by one of the college girls with an pair of scissors.

"I watched that," she said, and the others laughed.

As film critics, they were far more forgiving than the national press. The doctors -- Roth's father was excluded from the vote -- gave the young filmmaker two 3-star rankings, a 3 1/2, and a 4. Gutheil said he was very impressed by Roth's use of insider film references, which included casting Ruggero Deodato, the director of the controversial 1980 film "Cannibal Holocaust," as a cannibal.


[One psychiatrist] said that while he would encourage fans of horror films to see "Hostel: Part II," he would not recommend it be shown in prisons. Serial killers would also not be a good target audience.

"By fusing the erotic and violent, there are ways you create fantasies that become a playground for serial killers," he said.

The therapists said they did find Roth's characters compelling, particularly Stuart, the haplessly beaten-down family man who directs his anger at a stranger meant to look like the wife he hates and can't confront.

"Displacement," said Hoffer.

"It's subtle," Gutheil joked, "but it's there."

Does Eli Roth have a problem with women? None of the shrinks thought so.

Sheldon, his father, wrapped up the debate, noting that relationships are always complicated.

"I can say I've been married over 40 years," he said, " and I have a lot of learning to do."
Somehow I cannot help but think that such a creative exercise of cruelty would be disturbing to most normal rational folks. There is also traditional folklore that the children of mental health professional, such as psychiatrists, are often the weirdest and craziest kids on the block. [Note that the film maker is a psychiatrist's son]

Thus I find it worrisome that these professionals were so tolerant or admiring of a film of this genre, in a time when we all could wish for a less violent world.

Psychiatrist accused of murder sent for trial

From the Irish Independent

A psychiatrist charged with the murder of her 16-year-old daughter at their Co Kilkenny home last November was yesterday sent forward for trial to the Central Criminal Court.

Lynn Gibbs (47) appeared before Dun Laoghaire district court and was remanded in custody by Judge Claire Leonard.

She was charged that between 11pm on November 25 last and 10am on November 26 she murdered Ciara Gibbs at their home at Killure, Gowran, contrary to common law.

On the application of defending solicitor, Bob Eager, the court certified free legal aid in the case and granted two counsel for the trial.

Gardai in Thomastown were called to their detached two-storey red brick home in the townland of Killure on a back road between Gowran and Paulstown on Sunday, November 26, by an ambulance crew that had been summoned to the house.

Ciara's body was found by her father, Gerard, a lecturer at Carlow Institute of Technology, and her brother, Gearoid, when they returned home from an overnight visit to a relative in Clonmel.

Ciara was a highly popular fourth-year transition student who attended the Loreto secondary school in Kilkenny city.

AMA Debates Adding "Game Addiction" To List of Psychiatric Disorders

Needless to say, we thing this is remarkably unintelligent. See our quote from Wired Magazine at the end.

From the Star Tribune of Minneapolis - St. Paul

Blame it all on video games:

[...] The American Medical Association (AMA) is considering whether to formally classify video-game addiction as a legitimate psychiatric disorder, the Associated Press reported Thursday. The nation's leading doctors' group could vote on whether to add video-game addiction to a widely used mental-illness manual at a national meeting this weekend in Chicago, a move that would raise awareness about the issue and make it easier for patients to file insurance claims for treatment.

The debate among AMA members is expected to be heated. For starters, there's not even agreement that playing hours and hours of the latest game for Xbox 360 or Nintendo Wii or a multiplayer online role-playing game such as "World of Warcraft" is a true addiction, similar to dependence on alcohol or drugs.

"I think we always have to be cautious about overpathologizing behaviors that are trendy, age-specific or generational before we want to get everyone into therapy for it," said Dr. Jon Grant, a psychiatrist at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He specializes in studying and treating addictive behaviors in adults.

There's a lot to consider before heavy video-game use is called an addiction, he said. Players, including younger ones, may turn to games out of boredom, depression, loneliness and more.

"Is it a problem, or is it the symptom of a problem?" Grant said. "I don't know if we actually know that yet."


Addiction or disorder?

Andy McNamara, editor-in-chief of Minneapolis-based Game Informer magazine, said the AMA's actions are another sign of how video games are misunderstood.

"The simple fact that society calls too much gaming an 'addiction' and too much eating a 'disorder,' gives you an idea how the video-game industry is treated by the people who simply don't understand it," he said.

Walsh was careful to point out that what he calls video-game addiction affects only some people.

"I'm not suggesting that everybody who plays video games gets into trouble with them," he said.

Some players do see potential pitfalls in playing too much of games such as the immensely popular "World of Warcraft."I play this game actively and can attest to its addictive properties," said Sean Carter, 31, a Denver technology manager who commented through the Star Tribune's website. "The social interaction and forced cooperation with other live players combined with the open-ended story line can easily draw you in. It's a great example of the digital world replacing real life."

Although Walsh and the University of Minnesota's Grant differ on whether video games can generate addiction, they agreed that the AMA's proposal will help raise awareness for further exploration. "But it won't be an answer unto itself," Grant added.

The AMA could vote on the proposal by Monday, but even if approved, it will not appear in the mental-illness manual until the publication's next edition in 2012.
Wired Magazine has the right angle on this:
Honestly, does no one else see how ridiculous this is? Aren't there people who watch too much television? Ride their bicycles too much? Anything with an investment-payoff structure has the potential to be addictive, but it has much more to do with the person, not the thing itself. This isn't going to be much help to anyone -- all it does is further demonize gaming as a hobby and a medium.

If there really is a pathology at work here, the AMA should look harder to find the root cause -- something that's endemic to the human body, not a trendy label based on something that happens to be popular right now. If there's something about this addiction that's specific to electronic games played on a monitor, prove that. With science, and stuff.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Eli Lilly Settles 900 Zyprexa Claims

As seen in FDA News

Eli Lilly said it has reached settlement agreements that will resolve approximately 900 lawsuits over its schizophrenia and bipolar disorder drug Zyprexa. This includes four cases that were scheduled for trial in July, the company said.

At the beginning of January, Eli Lilly said it could spend as much as $500 million to settle most of the remaining product liability claims over its antipsychotic Zyprexa (olanzapine). The company estimated then that more than 18,000 claimants had settled, leaving approximately 1,200 claims outstanding, against which it said it would “continue to vigorously defend” itself.

Eli Lilly also said that survey results showed that “fears raised by product liability litigation involving antipsychotic drugs may be putting patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder at risk for relapse.”

According to the company, the survey, which polled among 402 psychiatrists who treat patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, showed that even when patients were responding well to their prescribed antipsychotic treatment, many requested a medication change or stopped taking their medication, often without telling their psychiatrists, “because these drugs are featured in law firm advertisements.”

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Jail Death blamed on psychiatrist, lawsuit in works

As seen in this report.

After a state report found that an inmate's death at the Herkimer County jail nearly one year ago could have been prevented, the inmate's brother is planning to sue the county.

Michael DiCamillo, 38, died June 30 from cardiac arrhythmia due to an overdose of prescription medication while he was incarcerated at the jail on a resisting arrest charge, according to a report filed in March by the state Commission of Correction.

In the report, the commission noted that DiCamillo had multiple medical problems that required a lengthy list of medications. As days passed, jail staff failed to address DiCamillo's worsening condition, which included profuse sweating and trouble walking, the report stated.

Herkimer County Sheriff Chris Farber and Herkimer County Attorney Rob Malone declined to comment, however, as the matter now faces litigation.

"DiCamillo's death is attributed to a community psychiatrist who prescribed a dangerous level of medication and failed to adequately monitor for compliance, and to jail medical personnel who failed to recognize signs of medication overdose," the report stated. "DiCamillo's death could have been prevented had proper medical intervention been provided when he began showing signs of acute intoxication."

On Wednesday, the inmate's brother, Matt Gabriel, held a deposition hearing in Herkimer County in anticipation of filing a lawsuit in U.S. District Court after 30 days so that Herkimer County realizes the mistakes it has made, he said.

"I don't want to see this happen again to someone's family," Gabriel said. "I'm very angry. It's something that definitely could have been prevented if they just would have done something."

Attorney Elmer Keach of Amsterdam is representing DiCamillo's estate. He said the state's report shows the jail lacked written medical procedures and used correction officers to medically diagnose inmates.

"If you had a medical problem like that, would you want to be treated like that? They made no effort in this jail to even call a physician," Keach said. "He goes in there on these really minor criminal charges and he winds up dead."

According to the report, one correction officer made no referral of DiCamillo's questionable health after he was observed sweating profusely while sitting on the floor. DiCamillo said, "I'm alright, man," and the correction officer noted housing temperatures were very warm at the time.

The next morning, DiCamillo had difficulty moving "due to his many medical problems and that this was normal for him," the report stated. Although DiCamillo said he was unable to move to visit the nurse, a lack of communication instead led the nursing staff to note that he refused to be seen.

Correction officers continued to assess DiCamillo's condition after several falls, even though they are not qualified to do so, according to the report. By that day's afternoon, DiCamillo was found dead in his cell.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Paris Hilton's Psychiatrist Doctor is not an M.D.

As reported on Radar Online

See also this update on this site

Update: Note that the anti-osteopath bias is as seen on Radar Online, although this may have been picked up from one of their sources. We have observed a number of message boards where the MD vs DO debate has been running hot and heavy. It is our understanding that being an MD is a prerequisite to being a Psychiatrist, since it is a prerequisite for a license to prescribe drugs. Here's the hot news ....

Radar has discovered that Dr. Charles Sophy, the psychiatrist that visited Paris Hilton in jail and aided with her initial release, is neither the UCLA professor his website claims he is, nor the board-certified M.D. he's reputed to be. (Not that anyone could tell by reading his press, which often cites him as an M.D.)

Sophy is actually a D.O., or Doctor of Osteopathy. Though osteopaths are still considered licensed doctors in America (not, however, in Europe) and Sophy serves as the legitimate medical director of the L.A. County Department of Family and Child Services, he does not seem eager to tout his full credentials—perhaps because a D.O. is considered by many M.D.s to be the fake Rolex of the medical profession.

Sophy claims on his website that he is triple board certified in psychiatry, family practice, and adolescent psychiatry, though he makes no reference to the fact that these are osteopathic boards and not titles issued by the Medical Board of California. Sources from both the Medical and Osteopathic boards confirm his background.

Even more suspect, Dr. Sophy, who often appears as an expert on PBS and Fox News, claims to hold an Associate Clinical Professorship at the University of California, Los Angeles, Neuro-Psychiatric Institute—which he does not.

Instead, according to academic officials at UCLA, Sophy is merely a volunteer clinical instructor. "This is an entry-level position at best," the source tells Radar. "He cannot claim himself to be a professor here by any means."

This is not the first red flag when it comes to Sophy's practices. In the Hilton case, he has made unauthorized, early morning visits to Paris throughout the trial and has argued to keep her out of court on the grounds that she is "not capable" of testifying. Fishier still, Sophy was closely involved with the Michael Jackson molestation case in 2003 and was accused of leaking a social worker's memo about the pop star's innocence to the press—a memo he had unique access to from his then-newly minted position as director of the L.A. County DFCS. He would not comment on the memo, telling the press simply: "I'm involved in the Jackson case ... but not the way that you think."

Several phone calls to Dr. Sophy's office and the L.A County DFCS were not returned.
He could be in very big trouble if he was prescribing psychiatric drugs, dangerous as they are, without an appropriate license.

Typical Psychological and Psychiatric Trauma Counseling After a Disaster is Ineffective, and Possibly Dangerous.

From the Medical News Today website,

Mental health professionals should stay away during the immediate aftermath of a terrorist atrocity or environmental disaster. Forcing counseling on trauma victims not only prevents them from talking to their family and friends but could increase the risk of their developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). "It's not just about us talking to them," said Professor Simon Wessely, director of the King's Centre of Military Health Research at the Institute of Psychiatry and King's College, London. "We don't think about people talking to each other. When they do, this prevents panic and mobilises social support."

Speaking to the annual meeting today, Prof Wessely said it was a myth that most people panick after a disaster. Many involved in the bombings in London on 7 July 2005 kept calm and helped each other and there was an overwhelming sense of unity.

Prof Wessely and colleagues conducted a survey of 1,000 of ordinary Londoners immediately after the bombings. It showed that those who failed to get through to their loved ones in the immediate aftermath were the most distressed.

Most showed remarkable resilience. Only a quarter reported feeling upset when something remind them of what had happened; 8 per cent had repeated disturbing memories or thoughts, 4 per cent had difficulty concentrating and the same number had difficulty falling asleep. A third felt "fairly safe" on the tube, In a follow-up survey six months later, Prof Wessely found that 74 per cent said the bombings made no difference to their using the tube. Some 22 per cent said they used the tube less often - though the numbers using the tube have increased.

Psychological debriefing, with those involved in the disaster describing the incident and their reactions to it, did not work, said Prof Wessely, and could increase the risk of post traumatic stress disorder. What people who had been involved in traumatic incidents wanted was practical help, to be able to talk to family and friends, and information on how to get home, he said.

"We should not waste money on useless treatment for people who do not want it. We don't have to bear down on people asking, 'how was it for you?'. It interferes with natural recovery processes and impedes people talking to who they want, when they want"

Immediately after the July 7 bombings, 76 per cent of Londoners contacted their family and friends and only 1 per cent sought professional help.,. Soldiers returning from war zones wanted to talk to their peers, family and friends, not mental health professionals.

In a study of 12,200 UK service personnel coming back from Bosnia, only 15 per cent wanted to talk to manager and 1 per cent wanted to talk to a psychiatrist. Six months after the London bombings, those who were most distressed were those who were unable to contact their family and friends.
Now all we need is a lawyer or two to get involved for damages.

Psychiatrist ‘should not have released gunman’ who later murdered a man

Another data point in assessing the general competence and actual exprtise of psychiatrists around the world. As seen in the Lancashire Telegraph

A consultant psychiatrist has been accused of serious professional misconduct for discharging a patient who later shot a man dead.

Dr Shashank Chattree gave permission for Mark Harrington to be discharged from Queen's Park Hospital in October 2001, a hearing of the General Medical Council was told yesterday.

Less than three months later, Harrington, 18, went to the home of Anthony Rigby in Swift Close, Larkhill, Blackburn, and shot his childhood friend once in the head.

Dr Chattree's conduct was liable to put members of the public at risk, was not in the best interests of patients and ran contrary to the clinical evidence available, the hearing was told.

Dr Chattree denies the allegations.

Bernadette Baxter, for the GMC, said before Harrington was released from hospital he had asked a nurse: "Has anyone ever left here and gone and murdered anyone?"

She also said that Harrington had also attacked a nurse with a weight inside a sock, striking her over the head in a bid to escape from his mental health ward.

Ms Baxter, representing the GMC, said that before the patient was released from the ward at Queen's Park Hospital, Harrington had informed Dr Chattree that he would not take anti-psychotic medication voluntarily while at home.

But the doctor still signed his release forms, the GMC hearing was told.

Dr Chattree is also accused of failing to properly monitor and manage Harrington in the community, despite the concerns of fellow health professionals.

The hearing in Manchester referred to Harrington as Patient A. In September 2002, Harrington was detained in a mental unit indefinitely after admitting manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Preston Crown Court at the time was told that Harrington had drawn up a hitlist of people he wanted to kill and that Anthony, who was shot in the back of the head two days before his 19th birthday, was number one on it.

Harrington was sectioned and admitted to Ward F4 at Queen's Park under Dr Chattree's care on June 30, 2001. He had diagnosed Harrington as schizophrenic, the hearing was told.

Dr Simon Plunkett, a forensic psychiatrist who assessed Harrington before his release, said he noticed that the patient still had residual paranoid symptoms and was unlikely to take medication if discharged, the hearing heard.

Dr Plunkett believed he presented a further risk of relapse and had an ongoing fascination with knives and weaponry, and access to a Samurai sword, the hearing was told.

Harrington needed a "high level of community support", according to the doctor.

Anthony's mother Carole Rigby also gave a statement to the hearing.

She said that Anthony and his friends were all scared of Harrington.

Mrs Rigby said that an independent inquiry had been conducted after Anthony's death during which she was told that she would be able to complain about Dr Chattree's conduct.

She later wrote to the GMC to make a formal complaint.

Class Action Lawsuit against Eli Lily

Eli Lily maintains that just because there were adverse effects and deaths associated with the drugs, this does not mean that it was their fault or the fault of the drug. We remain skeptical. As seen in the Australian News

Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly faces a class action from a group of Australians claiming they have suffered dangerous or life-threatening side effects including weight gain, pancreatitis and diabetes after taking the anti-psychotic drug Zyprexa.

The class action, the first over the allegedly negative affects of Zyprexa outside the US, started on behalf of a 32-year-old Tweed Heads saxophonist who developed pancreatitis after taking the drug.

Brisbane law firm Nicol Robinson Halletts expanded the case into a class action after others claimed their health had been harmed by Zyprexa.

Lawyer Simon Harrison said his team hoped to link the Australian claims to a $1.2billion group of settlements by Eli Lilly in the US over 30,000 similar cases.

"We are presenting a class action in respect of alleged side effects from the use of Zyprexa, some of which are life-threatening," Mr Harrison said.

"We'll be alleging Eli Lilly minimised or understated the risk, and we're dealing with associate attorneys in the US with a view to including the class action within the American settlements.

"The concern that we as plaintiff lawyers have is that information concerning the risks wasn't presented as soon as it should have been."

Zyprexa, or olanzapine, is used to treat people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder and has been available in Australia since mid-1997.

Mr Harrison declined to reveal how many people were involved in the Australian action but said there were litigants from Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland, "from middle-aged to early 20s", who had metabolic disorders such as diabetes and pancreatitis.

A spokeswoman for Eli Lilly said the company was aware of the initial case but did not have details of the class action.

"Zyprexa remains an effective medication for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and its benefit-risk profile is not altered by this case," she said.

"An adverse event does not necessarily have a causal relationship to the medicine."

Since April 1997, the Therapeutic Goods Administration has had reports of 40 deaths and 1231 adverse reactions among people taking Zyprexa.

Australian Medical Association federal counsellor Martin Nothling, a psychiatrist, said many of the problems associated with anti-psychotic medications could be avoided if the patient was "intensely followed up" by a treating psychiatrist.

"The benefits outweigh the risks," Dr Nothling said.

The figures, obtained by the Citizens Committee for Human Rights, co-founded by the Church of Scientology, show 53 cases of abnormal liver function in people taking Zyprexa, 87 cases of weight increase and more than 40 cases of metabolic disorders including diabetes and hyperglycemia.

Jon Jureidini, head of psychological medicine at the Women's & Children's Hospital in Adelaide, said difficulties interpreting the significance of adverse reaction reports highlighted "broader systemic issues".

"We don't put enough effort, energy and resources into this problem of monitoring the adverse effects of drugs," he said.

The TGA did not respond to requests for comment. "

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Misguided standards of care

Thanks to the Furious Seasons weblog for this follow up to the earlier story on Bipolar Diagnosis 'controversy':

Lawrence Diller, a psychiatrist in Walnut Creek, California, has declared war on Joseph Biederman and the Harvard bipolar child mafia. Recently, he told an audience at a bipolar disorder conference is Pittsburgh that Joe's crew was morally responsible in the death of Rebecca Riley. Now, he's gone that public moment one better and put his thoughts into an angry op-ed in the Boston Globe. He says that others in the psych world are afraid of Biederman and his fellow bipolar child docs because he's a Harvard man and everyone in the medical world must bow before anyone who teaches there. Props to Diller for speaking out.
And here are the juicy bits as seen in the Boston Globe
AS A doctor, I did the nearly unthinkable at a recent conference on bipoloar disorder in children. I charged another doctor with moral responsibility in the death last December of Rebecca Riley, a 4 -year-old girl from Hull. Naming names in medicine is just not done very often -- and I knew the personal and professional risks I was taking. Yet I felt compelled to name Joseph Biederman, head of the Massachusetts General Hospital's Pediatric Psychopharmacology clinic, as morally culpable in providing the "science" that allowed Rebecca to die.

Rebecca's parents have been jailed and charged in her death. They are accused of intentionally overdosing her with clonidine, an anti hypertensive and sedative drug -- one of three psychiatric medications prescribed by a Tufts-New England Medical Center child psychiatrist. Rebecca had been treated with these medications since the age of 2 1/2 for the purported diagnosis of bipolar disorder -- the new name for manic-depression.

While the psychiatrist involved has withheld comment on the case, both her lawyer and the medical center have defended her actions as "within the standards of care." Biederman and his colleagues at Harvard are the professionals most responsible for developing and promoting those standards of care -- which include diagnosing preschool children as young as 2 with bipolar disorder and treating them with multiple medications.

Biederman shocked the child psychiatric world in 1996 by announcing that nearly a quarter of the children he was treating for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder also met his criteria for bipolar disorder. Up until then bipolar disorder was rarely diagnosed in teenagers and unheard of in prepubertal children. Biederman could justify his findings by simply broadening the semantic definitions of a previously more circumscribed condition contained within American psychiatry's bible -- the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders."

Biederman has produced a number of studies and papers purporting to demonstrate the validity of his diagnosis and treatment. His research has always epitomized the best of what the DSM model of psychiatry could expect. But the diagnoses in the manual, in concept, are closely linked to the medical model of biologically based psychiatric disorders and focus exclusively on the individual.

While the manual provides helpful clinical guidance in adults, it begins to unravel with its assumptions about discrete and specific disorders in children and ignores the families and environments in which children live. The ultimate absurdity of this scientific model is diagnosing bipolar disorder in 2 year olds and linking it to the adult disorder with the same name -- in the process saddling young children as chronic mental patients condemned to a lifetime of psychiatric drugs.

Even the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry -- in its recent parameters on the diagnosis in children -- eschews the bipolar diagnosis and its consequent medical treatment in children under 6. Still there are thousands of potential Rebecca Rileys being treated with multiple psychiatric drugs because Biederman has said it's OK and necessary. Supported by millions of dollars of drug industry promotional funding, Biederman and his colleagues circle the globe offering professional medical "education" for their singular point of view.

Finally, it's sad but true -- the field of child psychiatry is afraid of Biederman. One can hear the worries and fears whispered in the academic halls and clinics over where Biederman has taken the profession. Yet to politely challenge Biederman in public is to risk public retribution and ridicule from him and his team. Also academic researchers in child psychiatry risk losing their funding if they criticize this darling of the pharmaceutical industry, which provides most of the money these days for psychiatric research.

The silence was deafening -- and Rebecca's death pushed me over the edge -- because for over a decade I've have been uncomfortable about these practices in young children. I am not against psychiatric drugs for children. I've written prescriptions for children for 30 years in a clinical practice not tied to the drug industry.

I risk personal censure and loss of credibility in an advocacy for a broader concept and treatment for children with behavior problems in naming this doctor. But this time, Dr. Biederman, you have gone far.

Dr. Lawrence Diller practices behavioral/developmental pediatrics in Walnut Creek, Calif., and is the author of "The Last Normal Child: Essays on the Intersection of Kids, Culture and Psychiatric Drugs."
The arrogance of Biedermann practically oozes off the page. And if any man's argument logically leads to an insane conclusion, crimes against humanity, or the death of small children in the pursuit of other agendas, then it must be said that the premises of the argument are fundamentally flawed, and that the man making the argument is possibly quite fundamentally insane himself. It is my opinion that Biederman falls into that category, no matter how charming he is at the cocktail parties of the Boston and Cambridge elite.

Settlement Reached As Trial Nears In Psychologist Romance Case

From WCSH 6 in Vermont

New Hampshire woman has settled a lawsuit she filed accusing her psychologist of initiating a romantic relationship.

The details of the settlement between therapist Monica Descamps of Norwich, Vermont, and Jill Davis of New Hampshire were not released.

Jury selection in federal court in Burlington had been scheduled to begin Tuesday.

Davis sued her former therapist in May 2006.

In her lawsuit, Davis said she sought counseling with Descamps in February 2003, which lasted until February 2004. At that point the psychologist ended counseling and initiated a romantic relationship with Davis, which lasted nine months.

In court papers, Descamps acknowledged the improper conduct

Overmedicated Kids?

From WTVF in Nashville

If something's wrong - pop a pill. Many experts argue we're an overmedicated society, kids included. Last year, doctors wrote more than 30 million prescriptions for ADHD meds alone. Are they just looking for a fast fix when many pediatricians are booked to spend only five minutes on each child?

Four million kids in the United State are diagnosed with ADHD, and more than half take medication for it.

Nine-year-old Melissa is one of those of kids, but after being put on the drug straterra, the side effects were worse than the symptoms.

"I think that the medication numbed her. She wasn't happy; she was nothing; she was just there," parent Cecilia Johnson said.

These concerns are real. The FDA now requires several ADHD drugs to carry warning labels about risks for heart and behavioral problems.

Child Psychiatrist Glen Elliott said psychiatric drug dangers are part of a bigger issue.

"There is a very strong debate about should we be going back to the old drugs, which had some side effects that we really disliked, or do we put up with the new ones, which do not have side effects but have new effects," Elliott said.

So what do parents need to know? First, talk to your doctor about alternatives like dietary changes that eliminate wheat and citrus and add supplements with fatty acids. But, don't be fooled by the allure of natural treatments.

"There are lots of poisons out there that are very natural and very deadly, and there are lots of poisons out there that have no benefit whatsoever," Elliott said.

Perhaps most important, don't underestimate your own level of expertise.

"The parents come as the expert on that child," Elliott said.

For Melissa, that meant getting her off drugs through counseling.

"Don't let the doctors and schools convince you that drugs and medicating your child is the only way," Johnson said.

For some kids, it might take more, but Melissa's back to her old self.

Also, don't believe everything you see on the internet either, especially something that guarantees 100 percent effectiveness with no side effects.

Elliott said any powerful treatment has the potential for powerful side effects.

Monday, June 18, 2007

A Summary of the Russell Tribunal on Human Rights in Psychiatry

As reported here

In 2001 the world Russell Tribunal on Human Rights in Psychiatry charged the World Psychiatric Association for crimes against humanity including torturing, psychiatric labelling, discrediting political dissidents.

The United Nations supported the Russell Tribunal’s efforts to bring psychiatrists to account.

Ref: The web-site of the Russell Tribunal and their accusation at

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms Mary Robertson sent a delegate and message to the Russell Tribunal (set up by Bertrand Russell) to support the Russell Tribunal in its calling the World Psychiatric Association to answer charges against it for atrocities against humanity. The Russell Tribunal web site also has further information including its findings.

A summary of the Russell Tribunal on Human Rights in Psychiatry

in the Urania-Haus, An der Urania 17, 10787 Berlin - June/July, 2001


1. Mental illness is a legal-psychiatric fiction. If the term refers to brain diseases, then the patients' legal status and medical care ought to conform to the status and care of other patients with diseases of the central nervous system; and the specialists caring for them ought to be (be called) "neurologists."

2. Psychiatric practices rest on the twin pillars of civil commitment and the insanity defence. Neither intervention serves the best interests of the patient. Both interventions serve the interests of the patient's adversaries and/or of the family or society.

3. The fiction of mental illness inexorably generates its corollary, the fiction of psychiatric treatment. Combined with coercion (civil commitment), the concept of psychiatric treatment thus becomes a ready weapon, in the hands of the family or the state, for controlling, punishing, and destroying individuals unwanted by those in control of the psychiatric vocabulary, especially those in political authority. But for the fiction of treatment of illness, such conduct would be recognized as torture.

4. Article 18 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights guarantees the right to freedom of thought to everyone. This guarantee is not restricted to thoughts deemed by the state to be sane and not contingent on the person's having to prove he is not suffering from "mental illness." Psychiatry's basic principles and practices constitute a massive, ongoing violation of this Article of the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

5. The role of psychiatrists as medical judges and executioners in Nazi Germany, and their role as medical judges, jailers, and torturers in the Soviet Union, Communist China, and so-called democratic countries illustrate the inexorable consequences of currently accepted psychiatric principles and practices.


Psychiatry claims that there is a scientific basis for treating conduct, deemed abnormal by psychiatrists, as a medical illness; and to "diagnose" and "treat" persons so identified without their consent and against their express wishes. Accordingly, we charge psychiatry as a profession, and psychiatrists as persons and physicians, with the following outrages against humanity:


a) makes the psychiatric profession the final arbiter of normalcy, converting societal normative judgments into pseudo-medical ones that psychiatrists are uniquely qualified to impose;

b) creates the status condition called "mental illness" that can be ascribed for malevolent, negligent, or paternalistic reasons; moreover, since there are no physical markers to examine, the so-called "diagnosis" cannot be disproved by those accused; psychiatry thus creates a status of human subservience to those legitimized with identifying who is mentally ill;

c) dehumanizes and delegimizes individuals characterized as "mentally ill," by attributing to them non-responsibility for their illegal or immoral acts;

d) distorts the concept of individual responsibility, depriving some persons accused of crimes even of the protections of the criminal process, substituting for it an inquisitorial examination of their "mental health, " aimed at defining them as mentally ill;

e) supports the psychiatric incarceration of those found mentally irresponsible for crime, a disposition often harsher and longer than punishment for the acts the defendants are accused of having committed;

f) encourages preventive detention by casting a wide net of future dangerousness in the guise of mental health diagnosis, under the pretext that it is an effective method for preventing some persons from doing harm;

g) stigmatizes those identified as mentally ill, providing opportunity to those who would discredit their political views, deny them employment, or mistreat them in other ways;

h) forcibly imposes interventions, euphemized as "treatments," on those identified as mentally ill, despite their refusal to be treated, and encourages drugging persons not incarcerated in so called "out patient" status, to re-inforce the psychiatric view that their (mis)behavior is an illness and to make them more docile;

i) supports, through the diagnosis of mental illness, the legal mechanism of imposed guardianship, thus expropriating the property of some persons so diagnosed. As a direct result of these premises, psychiatrists initiated the extermination of "undesirables" in Germany in the 1930s. Psychiatric principles and practices helped the Soviet Union, and now help the Chinese Communist government, hide, as medical treatment, a system of incarcerating, torturing, and discrediting dissidents. The same psychiatric principles and practices have encouraged, and continue to encourage the deprivation of human rights in the United States and many other countries.


For these atrocities, past and ongoing, we demand that psychiatrists acknowledge their collective and individual responsibility and take immediate steps to end the profession's support of and participation in them.

24/2/2001 Thomas Szasz and George Alexander

Bipolar madness?

Another OpEd editorial against the drugging of Kids, from the San Francisco Chronicle

Why did a two-day conference on the rather arcane subject of children's bipolar disorder that took place in Pittsburgh earlier this month attract intense media attention? The answer can only be the death last December of Rebecca Riley.

Rebecca was a 4-year-old girl who died, according to the medical examiner, from an overdose of clonidine, also known as Catapress. This drug is most widely prescribed to lower blood pressure but is also routinely employed by child psychiatrists to aid in sleep and to control unruly behavior in children. America is the only country that addresses the public health crisis of children's bad behavior with medications. No other society uses psychiatric drugs as widely as we do.

In this case, clonidine was one of only three psychiatric drugs given to Rebecca for the treatment of her purported psychiatric illness -- bipolar disorder. Her parents are being held for murder, charged with intentionally overdosing their daughter. Their defense: They were only following the doctor's orders.

Kayoko Kifuji, the child's psychiatrist, working at the Tufts-New England Medical Center, has withdrawn from her practice and is not answering any questions. Her license has been temporarily suspended. But she was not some extreme outlier practicing some voodoo alchemy on this child. Indeed, Tufts-New England issued a statement after the arrest of Rebecca's parents that her care "was appropriate and within responsible professional standards."

The Riley case is confusing, and responsibility for her death will ultimately decided by the courts. But her particular diagnosis and treatment have uncovered what one child psychiatrist called "the hidden tsunami" of children's mental health: the vast increase in the number of children receiving the bipolar diagnosis and the concomitant growth in the use of "mood stabilizing" drugs.

Rebecca was diagnosed at age 2 1/2 as having bipolar disorder, the new name for manic-depression. This diagnostic label conferred on Rebecca the same implications of being a chronic mental patient requiring drug treatment for the rest of her life. The conference in Pittsburgh fiercely debated the question: Can or should children that young be diagnosed with a disorder that ostensibly lasts a lifetime?

In addition to clonidine, Rebecca was also prescribed Seroquel, an anti-psychotic, and Depakote, an anti-convulsant. Neither drug is approved by the FDA for bipolar disorder in children. There are scant studies to justify such use. Is it appropriate to be prescribing these medications to someone so young?

There always have been unruly and difficult children. Rebecca's mother described her as, on the surface, very irritable, but the household was highly dysfunctional (Rebecca's older brother and sister were also on bipolar medications).

Nearly 3.5 million children in the United States take drugs for conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. About 1.5 million children received an anti-psychotic prescription in 2006. While these drugs can be helpful in the short-term to improve children's behavior, they are not the moral equivalent to addressing aspects of their home life that are contributing to their problems. All these drugs have potential short and long-term side effects. Yet medication is often the desperate "quick fix" answer to chronic and difficult social problems.

Even if we agree on the need to medicate these children, should we be labeling children as young as age 2 as bipolar? Debate rages within professional circles. The most recent guidelines issued three months ago by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry specifically caution against the use of this diagnosis and its treatment in children younger than 6.

Still, it may not be coincidental that the Tufts Medical Center is only a short drive from Harvard University, where that institution's pre-eminent child psychopharmacology clinic has been at the forefront of broadening and promoting the bipolar diagnosis for more and younger children.

Many doctors question the tie between any child's behavior and the adult bipolar condition. Given the predictable turbulence of adolescence (not to mention the terrible 2s), shouldn't one wait until children reach their early 20s before assigning this lifelong sentence? Other doctors say we cannot afford to wait to aggressively treat these problems of childhood, even though clear prospective links between the behaviors of bipolar illness of children to the later adult disorder have not been established.

Of course, the pharmaceutical industry's influence also cannot be denied. It vigorously promotes with millions of dollars the research and professional "education" that supports the pediatric bipolar diagnosis.

While the conference in Pittsburgh raised troubling questions about the bipolar "epidemic" in children, it will not change in the short term the way America copes with very difficult children. In the meantime, the practical aspects of addressing children's extreme behavior in an otherwise underfunded mental health system will tilt doctors toward making such a diagnosis and using these sedating and potentially dangerous drugs.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Backlash against psychiatric diagnoses of bipolar disorder in children

To present a 'balanced viewpoint' newspapers have a tradition of presenting 'both sides of the story'. So I suppose The Boston Globe has to say 'something' nice about their local psychiatric Doctor Strangelove who is promoting the diagnosing Bipolar disorder in very young children. The good doctor dismisses most critics, saying that they cannot match his scientific credentials, and implying anyone who disagrees with him is a fool. Good logical and scientific arguments (note our sarcasm). The Globe does report some of the facts surrounding the deaths that have resulted from this kind of diagnosis.

But there are various ways of presenting the story for a 'balanced viewpoint' depending on what impression you want to create. Stories read differently on the internet than they do on the front page of a newspaper.

In this case the first couple paragraphs were on the front page of the paper, and you had to go inside to see the real info. Thus a casual reader would not have seen much of anything, and would have received an impression of an embattled doctor fighting for modern science or something. But read inside, and you get the actual dirt. This is all a matter of editorial design, what makes it on the front page, and what is pushed into the body of the paper. Thus my original comments about the Globe putting a positive spin on the story. They tried to lessen the local impact, even if the article had some dirt in it. It gave them something to say when the poor doctor called the newspaper to complain.

Update: The Boston Globe now has a editorial on the subject, a no holds barred cautious and conservative assessment of the situation, trying hard not to say much of anything that would get them heavily criticized while advocating for a more careful approach. A fine waste of ink, indeed

Here is the original news item:

As seen in this report, emphasis added. See also this typical reaction.
No one has done more to convince Americans that even small children can suffer the dangerous mood swings of bipolar disorder than Dr. Joseph Biederman of Massachusetts General Hospital.

From his perch as one of the world's most influential child psychiatrists, Biederman has spread far and wide his conviction that the emotional roller coaster of bipolar disorder can start "from the moment the child opened his eyes" at birth. Psychiatrists used to regard bipolar disorder as a disease that begins in young adulthood, but now some diagnose it in children scarcely out of diapers, treating them with powerful antipsychotic medications based on Biederman's work.

"We need to treat these children. They are in a desperate state," Biederman said in an interview, producing a video clip of a tearful mother describing the way her preschool daughter assaulted her before the child began treatment for bipolar disorder. The chief of pediatric psychopharmacology at Mass. General, he compares his work to scientific break throughs of the past such as the first vaccinations against disease.

But the death in December of a 4-year-old Hull girl from an overdose of drugs prescribed to treat bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder has triggered a growing backlash against Biederman and his followers. Rebecca Riley's parents have been charged with deliberately giving the child overdoses of Clonidine, a medication sometimes used to calm aggressive children. Still, many wondered why a girl so young was being treated in the first place with Clonidine and two other psychiatric drugs, including one not approved for children's use. Riley's psychiatrist has said she was influenced by the work of Biederman and his protege, Dr. Janet Wozniak.

"They are by far the leading lights in terms of providing leadership in the treatment of children who have disorders such as bipolar," said J. W. Carney Jr., lawyer for Dr. Kayoko Kifuji, a Tufts-New England Medical Center psychiatrist who temporarily gave up her medical license after Riley died on Dec. 13, 2006. "Dr. Kifuji subscribes to the views of the Mass. General team."

Part of the criticism of Biederman speaks to a deeper issue in psychiatry: the extensive financial ties between the drug industry and researchers. Biederman has received research funding from 15 drug companies and serves as a paid speaker or adviser to seven of them, including Eli Lilly & Co. and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, which make the multi billion-dollar antipsychotic drugs Zyprexa and Risperdal, respectively. Though not much money was earmarked for bipolar research, critics say the resources help him advance his aggressive drug treatment philosophy.

Numerous psychiatrists say Riley's overdose suggests that bipolar disorder is becoming a psychiatric fad, leaving thousands of children on risky medications based on symptoms such as chronic irritability and aggressiveness that could have other causes. Riley's father, for example, had only recently returned to the home after being accused of child abuse, according to police. Since the girl's death, state officials have stepped up a review of the 8,343 children taking the latest antipsychotic medications under the Medicaid program for conditions including bipolar disorder, to be sure the treatment is appropriate.

Psychiatrists too often prescribe these medications, which carry side effects such as weight gain and heart disease risk, without addressing problems in the children's lives, said Dr. Gordon Harper, director of child and adolescent services at the state Department of Mental Health. He likened the approach to "tuning the piano while the subway is going by."

Aggressive treatment

Biederman's critics chide him for not speaking out against misuses of a diagnosis that he has helped inspire. Among leading authorities on bipolar disorder, the Mass. General team has proposed the most aggressive treatment for the broadest group of children, they say, and Biederman should take responsibility when treatment goes wrong. At a conference on bipolar disorder at Pittsburgh's Point Park University last weekend, one speaker, Dr. Lawrence Diller, a California behavioral pediatrician, contended that Biederman bears some blame for Riley's death.

"I find Biederman and his group to be morally responsible in part," said Diller, whose popular book, "Running on Ritalin," accused psychiatrists of over treating another childhood condition, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. "He didn't write the prescription, but he provided all the, quote, scientific justification to address a public health issue by drugging little kids."

Biederman rejects the idea that Riley's death is a cautionary tale, accusing critics of exploiting a tragedy to fan fears about psychiatry, a profession that has long faced prejudice. "The fact that she had XY drug or XY treatment is irrelevant to what happened. . . . If this child had the same outcome from treatment for asthma or seizures, we wouldn't have this frenzy," said Biederman in an interview at Mass. General's Cambridge mental health clinic.

Though Biederman acknowledges that distinguishing bipolar disorder from ordinary crankiness and flights of fancy in young children is challenging, he insists there is no ambiguity in the patients at his practice. "People have to wait a long time to see me or my colleagues. . . . It's not that somebody comes to me after their child has a temper tantrum. They do things for years that are dangerous. These are things that profoundly affect the child," said Biederman, putting them at risk of academic failure or even suicide.

Biederman dismisses most critics, saying that they cannot match his scientific credentials as co author of 30 scientific papers a year and director of a major research program at the psychiatry department that is top-ranked in the "US News & World Report" ratings.

The critics "are not on the same level. We are not debating as to whether [a critic] likes brownies and I like hot dogs. In medicine and science, not all opinions are created equal," said Biederman, a native of Czechoslovakia who came to Mass. General in 1979 after medical training in Argentina and Israel. He now lives in Brookline.


A surge in diagnoses

Biederman's work helped fuel a surge in the number of children diagnosed with bipolar disorder over the past 15 years. A national study of community hospitals found that the percentage of mentally ill children diagnosed as bipolar quadrupled from 1990 to 2000.


Dr. Steven Hyman, who was then director of the mental health institute and is now provost at Harvard University, said he remains very concerned about the growing use of "big gun" antipsychotic drugs such as Zyprexa, Risperdal, and Seroquel on children. In the Massachusetts Medicaid program, the number of people under 18 receiving at least one of the "atypical antipsychotic" drugs rose from 6,943 in 2002 to 9,123 in 2005, a 31 percent jump, before declining to 8,343 in 2006. Hyman says that none of the drugs has the approval of the Food and Drug Administration for use in bipolar children, and doctors prescribe them based on their individual judgment.

"We don't know the first thing about safety and efficacy of these drugs even by themselves in these young ages, let alone when they are mixed together," said Hyman.

Rebecca Riley's treatment

Kifuji was careful in treating Rebecca Riley, meeting the child six times before diagnosing bipolar disorder, according to Carney. Based on the child's behavior and family history, Kifuji prescribed three drugs to the 3-year-old child, including the antipsychotic medication Seroquel and Clonidine, a high blood pressure medicine that is often prescribed to calm aggressive children. Last year, Clonidine was prescribed to 1,195 children under age 7 served by the Massachusetts Medicaid program, including Riley.

Police charge that her parents, Carolyn and Michael Riley , repeatedly convinced Kifuji to give them extra Clonidine, ultimately accumulating dozens of extra pills that they used to control the little girl. Long before the child finally died on the floor beside her parents' bed, the police report said, teachers and school nurses noticed that she had become lethargic like a "floppy doll" on a nurse's lap.

Carney said his client, who is not practicing while the investigation continues, did nothing wrong in writing the prescriptions for the girl. Although some were shocked that the child was taking so much medication, Carney said Kifuji was practicing mainstream psychiatry for a very troubled child. He observed that Biederman's "research and teaching validates Dr. Kifuji's work with patients."
A couple of comments:
Biederman dismisses most critics, saying that they cannot match his scientific credentials

All of which says that he claims the mantel of authority. The arrogance is appalling. It is almost as bad as saying me must wage unrelenting war to have peace, and the only freedom is in slavery. It takes a real expert to screw up lives efficiently.

Kifuji was careful in treating Rebecca Riley, meeting the child six times before diagnosing bipolar disorder, according to Carney.

In this case the father is also a sex predator, and he was the one determining how many pills to give the poor child each night. In this case the child's misbehavior and upset was probably a sane reaction to possibly crazy parent, which the shrink did not pick up on in the first place.