Friday, September 26, 2008

Antidepressants may damage male fertility

As reported via Reuters

Common antidepressant drugs may reduce some men's fertility by damaging the DNA in their sperm, according to scientists.

A study of 35 healthy men given paroxetine - sold as Paxil or Seroxat by GlaxoSmithKline - found that, on average, the proportion of sperm cells with fragmented DNA rose from 13.8 percent before treatment to 30.3 percent after just four weeks.

Similar levels of sperm DNA damage have been linked to problems with embryo viability in couples trying to have children. The research by Peter Schlegel and Cigdem Tanrikut of the Cornell Medical Center in New York was reported in New Scientist magazine and is due to be presented in November at a meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

A copy of the study abstract was made available to Reuters.

"The fertility potential of a substantial proportion of men on paroxetine may be adversely affected by these changes in sperm DNA integrity," the experts concluded.

The study adds to concerns voiced by the same doctors in 2006, after finding that two men had developed low counts of healthy sperm following treatment with two different selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

SSRIs like Paxil/Seroxat and Eli Lilly's Prozac, both of which are now available generically, are the most commonly prescribed class of antidepressant.

Glaxo said it was reviewing the investigators' findings, since the study was not conducted by the company.

"These medicines remain an important option, in addition to counselling and lifestyle changes, for treatment of depression and this study should not be used to cause unnecessary concern for patients," a spokeswoman said.

"Patients should discuss their situation with their doctor before stopping use of their medicine."

Allan Pacey, Senior Lecturer in Andrology at the University of Sheffield, said the apparent increase in sperm DNA damage was "alarming", although he noted the level at which damage becomes clinically significant was open to debate.

"It is a shame that the authors appear not to have conducted a randomised controlled trial which would be the most scientific way to investigate the drugs effects, but I agree that the results are of concern and need to be investigated further," he said.

SSRIs have long been known to depress libido in some men and previous research has also found that women taking the medicines are more likely to have a low birth weight baby.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Welcome to Chemical

As posted as an introduction on Chemical

This website provides scholarly information on mental health topics of interest to helping professionals, as well as to the general public. We focus primarily on two controversial areas in the field of mental health. First, we examine the popular notion that depression and anxiety are caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitters which is corrected by antidepressant medication. Second, we discuss the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on psychiatric research. We also cover related topics, such as consumer advertising of psychiatric medications, clinical trial research, and media coverage of these issues.

The information on this site is for educational purposes and does not constitute medical advice. If you take psychiatric medications, please be aware that stopping them suddenly can be dangerous. Please consult with your prescribing physician regarding all treatment decisions.
We welcome them to the discussion.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

William Hamilton Ayres Watchdog Site

We now have a blog devoted to tracking the declining career William Hamilton Ayres

William Hamilton Ayres is a "noted" former child psychiatrist who now stands accused of molesting many young boys over the course of his long career. For those not familiar with the case, click on career milestones below the mugshot.

William Hamilton Ayres

Career Milestones

Great Background Article!

Another Good Background Article

Ayres' California Medical License

2003: Ayres Sued - Confidential Settlement

04/06/2007: Arrested

04/12/2007: Prohibited from practicing.

04/13/2007: In Jail Again.

07/24/2008: Trial in January 09

William Ayres: Unmitigated Gall

Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping...

America, Your Kids Are Over-Medicated

As seen on Scientific Blogging

American children are approximately three times more likely to be prescribed psychotropic medication than children in Europe, according to a new study published Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health. The study claims that the differences may be accounted for by regulatory practices and cultural beliefs about the role of medication in emotional and behavioral problems.

Julie Zito led a team of researchers from the USA, Germany and the Netherlands who investigated prescription levels in the three countries. She said, "Antidepressant and stimulant prevalence were three or more times greater in the US than in the Netherlands and Germany, while antipsychotic prevalence was 1.5 to 2.2 times greater".

The use of antidepressants, like Prozac, and stimulants, like Ritalin, in children has been the subject of a great deal of controversy and this study quantifies the differences in practice between the US and Western Europe. The authors claim that the differences may be partly due to different diagnostic classification systems, "The US trend of increasing bipolar diagnosis in children and adolescents does not reflect European practice".

The authors also mention government cost restrictions in Europe, the larger number of child psychiatrists per capita in the US and the use of two or more different psychotropic drugs in a single year in US children as possible explanations.

Zito concludes that, "Direct to consumer drug advertising, which is common in the US, is also likely to account for some of the differences. The increased use of medication in the US also reflects the individualist and activist therapeutic mentality of US medical culture".

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Health Ranger challenges drug companies to a $10,000 Health and Fitness challenge.

Think prescription drugs make you healthy? In this video, the Health Ranger challenges drug companies to a $10,000 Health and Fitness challenge.

His challenge of finding someone on 8 life quality enhancing drugs over the course of a year might be hard to do. There might not be anyone out there, realistically. (but give it ten years)

But his point of healthy living as a cure for many things is not off base.

Doctors would love to find an anti-depressant as effective as exercise, for example.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Reporting Dr. Feel Good

The DEA has a new web site to report all the Dr. FeelGood Psychiatrists, etc.

It's the Office of Diversion Control. To Turn in pharmaceutical pill pushers confidentially CALL 1-877-RX-abuse DEA

This site has a list of arrests of these Dr FeelGood Clones complete with the name and charges that the doctor was settled with.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Placebo Effect In Depression Treatment Much Larger Than Previously Thought

From a study in the August Journal of Psychiatric Research, seen via the Furious Season Weblog. here is the Abstract of the Paper

Our objective was to assess the persistence of the placebo response during at least 12 weeks of continued placebo administration in depressed patients who have responded to 6–8 weeks of acute placebo treatment. We identified 8 placebo-controlled antidepressant trials with a total of 3063 depressed patients in which, after acute phase placebo treatment, placebo was continued for more than 12 weeks. The number of patients entering the continuation phase and percentages relapsing during this phase were determined.

Based on the total number of patients entering the continuation phase 79% of placebo responders remained well (did not meet relapse criteria) during this phase compared to 93% of antidepressant responders.

Although significantly more patients on placebo than on antidepressants relapsed in the continuation phase, 4 out of 5 placebo responders stayed well. The widely held belief that the placebo response in depression is short-lived appears to be based largely on intuition and perhaps wishful thinking.
As one commentator noted
"So yeah, people on drugs did a bit better, but about 4 in 5 people taking a freaking sugar pill were still doing well in the long-term. Anyone still want to seriously argue that the vast majority of the antidepressant effect is not the placebo effect?"

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A La Mesa psychotherapist surrendered her counseling license amid allegations that she coerced an 8-year-old rape victim into falsely identifying her

From the San Diego Union-Tribune of March 21, 1996, via

A La Mesa psychotherapist facing state disciplinary hearings has surrendered her counseling license amid allegations that she coerced an 8-year-old rape victim into falsely identifying her father as the attacker. Kathleen King Goodfriend was accused by government regulators of being "grossly negligent or incompetent" in her treatment of the child, Alicia Wade.

The California Board of Behavioral Science Examiners said that "pressure" by Goodfriend over a period of 13 months finally led the girl to falsely accuse her father.

As a result, her father, James Wade was arrested, charged and faced 16 years in prison. Alicia was nearly placed for adoption. Alicia's mother, Denise Wade attempted suicide. Authorities overlooked DNA evidence which proved the father had not assaulted his daughter and disregarded a suspect already convicted of attacking other girls in the neighborhood.

More info available via the LA Times

Monday, September 01, 2008

Lawsuit: Priest's therapist molested boy

Report From the Boston Globe

The church therapist who treated a Vermont Roman Catholic priest accused of molesting boys later became the target of a Massachusetts lawsuit alleging he, too, engaged in sex acts with a boy for nine years, beginning when the boy was 9.

The Rev. Thomas Kane of Whitinsville, Mass., was executive director of the House of Affirmation in Whitinsville. That's where the Diocese of Burlington sent the Rev. Edward Paquette to be treated after learning Paquette had molested two boys in Rutland.

Court papers in Vermont and Massachusetts indicate the dates of Kane's alleged abuse of the Uxbridge, Mass., boy -- 1968 to 1977 -- coincide with the period from 1974 to 1978 that Paquette was being treated, for much of the time via monthly visits, at the House of Affirmation.

There's no evidence that officials in the Vermont diocese, including then-Bishop John Marshall, were aware of Kane's alleged sexual misconduct during the period he was providing therapy to Paquette.

Kane's alleged victim filed suit in Suffolk County Superior Court in Boston in 1993; the case settled out of court two years later for $42,500. The Associated Press does not identify alleged victims of sexual abuse.

Nineteen lawsuits have been filed in Vermont alleging that Paquette molested boys while serving as a priest in Burlington, Montpelier and Rutland in the 1970s. Four have ended with jury verdicts or been settled out of court and 15 are pending.

Church records in Vermont show that Marshall knew Paquette had a history of molesting boys at parishes in Massachusetts and Indiana, but allowed him to join the Vermont diocese after being told by a church psychiatrist in Indiana that Paquette's problem had been cured.

Kane also provided a positive review of Paquette's progress in therapy. "It is my opinion that Father Paquette should return as soon as possible to a parish setting and observe the signals of caution which we have discussed," Kane wrote to Marshall on Nov. 6., 1974.

Another exchange of letters between Kane and Marshall in 1978 showed new allegations of sexual misconduct were being directed at Paquette.

Marshall wrote to Kane that he was considering leaving Paquette in his role as parish priest at Christ the King Church in Burlington despite the new allegations.

"Despite the demands of two sets of irate parents that 'something be done about this,' Father Paquette's pastor and I are determined to take the risk of leaving him in his present assignment," Marshall wrote to Kane on April 4, 1978.

"Our thinking is that, knowing the awareness of others concerning his problem, Father Paquette will have reason for 'self control'," the bishop added. "Do you agree with this thinking?"

Kane replied, "I do agree with your thinking. I do not believe it is 'too risky' to leave Father Paquette in his present assignment but, of course, can make no predictions."

Later that month, increased pressure from parents in the parish forced Marshall to change his mind. He wrote to Kane, "The situation had become so explosive that I had no other recourse but to ask Father Paquette to leave the parish immediately."

No telephone listing could be found Sunday for Edward Paquette at his last known address in Westfield, Mass. A message left at the headquarters of the Diocese of Worcester, which includes Whitinsville, was not immediately returned Sunday. News reports from 2002 placed Kane in Mexico.