Here I am again, still mad as hell.
In the article below, Lauren F. Friedman reports in Business Week on the sorry state of the mental health field and a large grant of $650 million from philanthropist Ted Stanley (full story here) to the Broad Institute promoting new research so that a whole new type of medications can be developed. She reports, "the momentum is now unstoppable."
Here we have more promises of new research leading to new medical treatments for invented DSM "diseases." Hmmm. There's actually a bit I liked about this article. It is accurately reported that current overprescribed medications have been no more effective than placebos and there is much frustration within the field of psychiatry and little understanding of mental illness; indeed, mental health treatment is in a "sorry state." You gotta love the honesty and accuracy - finally! And I think I acknowledge the sincerity of Ted Stanley - he seems to be trying to help and is willing to back his beliefs with large amounts of money. And money remains a big factor: you can keep your eyes on the market at MarketWatch to follow the money; hey, maybe you can invest in the right new drug and make a lot of money too! The fact that Friedman's article appears in Business Week is a great reminder that, ultimately, this is all about money. Lots of positives, eh?
However, let's think. Let's read critically. Let's be skeptical (which is the first principle of science). Let's think about the "new research, new approaches, new treatments" coming our way. This new research hopes to find some kind of evidence that these "diseases" actually exist, right? That would be a great start. This genome project has been around for quite awhile and, um, nothing yet. And whether effective or not, there will be a whole new breed of medications coming your way, baby! And you will continue to line up at your psychiatrist's, doctor's, or mental health therapist's door to get them (just be sure to read the small print on the bottle). Most importantly, isn't it great that those in the field will make more money than ever and will have a lot of job security spending many more years tracking down the elusive magic gene that causes you not to pay attention or, you know, get a little nervous at times?
I've put my comments in red font. As always, you will make up your own mind. Feel free to share your comments.
Mental illness is among the most crippling healthcare crises of our time — not only because it is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide, but because we still understand so little about how it works We're off to a good start here.
After years of almost stagnant psychopharmalogical research, two historic announcements by The Broad Institute on July 22 indicate that we may or may not be at a turning point probably not - read on.
Researchers announced the largest-ever donation to psychiatric research ($650 million from Ted Stanley) and the publication of the largest-ever study of schizophrenia, an analysis of the genomes of 37,000 people with schizophrenia and 114,000 without.
The study, a collaboration between Broad Institute scientists and hundreds of others, identified 108 genes linked to schizophrenia, which might or or might not eventually 100 years from now lead to many entirely new, unexplored targets humans? for treatment that would have widespread implications a lot of money for the direction of research on other invented mental illnesses. The results were published July 22 in the journal Nature. Be sure to click on the Nature link. Be sure to read each word of the summary section in particular. Also, be sure to check the CFI (competing financial interests) - here they are: "CFI statement–Several of the authors are employees of the following pharmaceutical companies; Pfizer (C.R.S., J.R.W., H.S.X.), F.Hoffman-La Roche (E.D., L.E.), Eli Lilly (D.A.C., Y.M., L.N.) and Janssen (S.G., D.W., Q.S.L.; also N.C. an ex-employee). Others are employees of deCODE genetics (S.S, H.S., K.S.). None of these companies influenced the design of the study, the interpretation of the data, or the amount of data reported, or financially profit by publication of the results which are pre-competitive. The other authors declare no competing interests." So not to worry, none of the individuals or drug companies listed will financially profit now by the results, um, merely being published...
"The field of psychiatric disease research is at a critical point," said Stanley, the record-making donor, in a video accompanying the announcement. "It's now possible to begin to decode the biological basis of psychiatric disorders" if there is a biological basis of invented psychiatric disorders.
Most importantly, the finding — and the funding well, the funding is most important — may but probably won't pave the way for research toward treatments that are based on science I'm all for that - let's do something based on science, that's all been asking for, not serendipity you can call it serendipity or you can call it what it is.
"We're poised for real advances here," said National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins, in a video accompanying the announcement. "I'm impatient I'm impatient too, we're all getting pretty impatient, we've been waiting a long time for results. But that impatience is now being met with results" by 'results' you mean a lot more money is providing a lot of jobs for a lot of people at NIH.
The Sorry State of Mental Health Treatment Yep, we agree on that one!
"Five to one, baby, one in five - no one here gets out alive." (Jim Morrison, The Doors)
One in five American adults takes at least one psychiatric medication but these people won't be happy 'till everyone is on meds, but most of those compounds were discovered by accident. In many cases, scientists still lack even the most basic understanding of why certain pills work or, um, don't work, in part because the diseases are they really diseases? Is there any evidence an internet addiction disorder is a disease?? they target are still largely mysterious that is, fictional. We can call it mysterious or we can call it what it is.
Take selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors — SSRIs sold under brand names like Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil, which are prescribed in large numbers to treat depression and anxiety. They sometimes 5% of the time work, and they sometimes 95% of the time don't. In both cases, nobody is quite sure why because they're just making this up as they go along.
"While S.S.R.I.s surely alter serotonin metabolism, those changes do not explain why the drugs work, nor do they explain why they have proven to be no more effective than placebos in clinical trials yet they continue to prescribe medications to 20% of the population to make a lot of money," Gary Greenberg, a psychotherapist, wrote in a New Yorker essay, The Psychiatric Drug Crisis. The complexity of the brain, he goes on to suggest, might might? Might? make it "an elusive target for drugs." Shhhhh...
Part of the problem with the misleading idea that a mental illness is no more than a chemical imbalance that needs to be corrected — just add a little more serotonin to the mix, for example — is that "the brain isn't a bowl of soup," Thomas Insel, the director of the National Institute for Mental Health, told MIT Technology Review. "It's a really complex network of networks and the brain shouldn't be messed with by a bunch of people prescribing meds no more effective than a placebo in order to make a lot of money."
By ordinary medical standards, psychiatric drugs are shamefully old-fashioned, ineffective, overprescribed, and harmful. They tend to treat symptoms instead of root causes, which in many cases remain elusive you can't find them if they don't exist. For decades, real pharmacological innovation in this field — while so desperately needed — has seemed to be almost nonexistent it sounds like, um, innovation through funding is coming.
"All of our current antidepressants, antipsychotics and anti-anxiety drugs share the same molecular targets in the brain as their prototypes from the 1950s," wrote Richard A. Friedman, a psychiatrist at Weill Cornell Medical College, in The New York Times. "With rare exceptions, it is hard to think of a single truly novel psychotropic drug that has emerged in the last 30 years." With all this new funding, I bet new novel psychtropic drugs are coming our way soon! I can't wait to hear more...
Without a more nuanced understanding of what causes mental illness in the first place, it seemed that dismal trend was not likely to shift. That's precisely what makes the Broad Institute announcement so exciting. I'm excited to hear those in the field might finally start to get some kind of a clue...
A New Way Forward Here we go! The new way:
"Meet the new boss, same as the old boss." Pete Towhsend, The Who
The announcement doesn't suggest that we have won a battle against mental illness, which still remains mostly inscrutable oh. But it should open the floodgates for future research, leading the way in a very promising new direction so a lot more money can be made.
"What this means is that the pharmaceutical companies who left this field because there was nothing concrete not enough money to work on are putting their toes back in the water," now that there is so much new money said Eric Lander, the director of the Broad Institute. I can't tell you how happy I am to hear that the pharmaceutical companies are back.
While the excitement around the announcement is warranted, caution I think a disclaimer is coming is also necessary. The genomic analysis of people with schizophrenia is an important step, but it's also a preliminary one.
"A genetic test by itself will probably never be enough to make a diagnosis," so there's not a gene - admit it said Steve McCarroll, the director of genetics at the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute. It also is unlikely to lead to a simple cure there's not a magic pill but it'll still be prescribed.
Mental illness is complex yet the DSM continues to be used to diagnosis mental illness based on a few simple criteria, and scientists probably won't discover a single gene that causes any particular disorder. But genetic testing could be combined with brain imaging and cognitive testing to get a more complete picture of risk that could be used to intervene in mental illnesses early — perhaps even before symptoms emerge so let me get this straight... it'll go like this: "Yes, I know you're doing fine right now but there's a risk that someday you might, you know, get nervous or something so I'm prescribing this new medication for you. It's only $675 per month, but not to worry, your insurance will cover it".
Genomic analysis might also suggest novel targets humans? for drugs like an internet addiction disorder? The schizophrenia study, for example, confirmed earlier theories that the immune system seems to be involved in the disorder so now we're guessing it's the immune system rather than genes? Why isn't the grant money being sent to immunologists rather than geneticists?. That and similar findings might not obviously won't lead to better treatments immediately, but the researchers are confident that it will eventually assuming they're provided long-term funding because this will take a lot of time and money.
"We can't promise [a treatment] is going to be here today, this week, this year, or even this decade," said Lander. "But it's definitely going to happen in the meantime, we'll just keep misdiagnosing invented 'diseases' backed by no research and prescribe medications admittedly no more effective than a placebo in order to make a lot of money and it'll be great because the public wants their meds.
"The momentum now is unstoppable." oh no. Well, you have been warned.
End of article.
OUTLANDISH! In this groundbreaking article there is finally the admission that they (psychiatry and clinical mental health) have been prescribing what they have always known to be ineffective medications to treat invented diseases. Although they try to make you feel better by promising a new start and more research (we'll get it right this time), how do you feel knowing you and the public have been lied to all these years so that they can make a lot of money? I can't believe there hasn't been a massive backlash. Why hasn't there been a huge class-action lawsuit; the admission of guilt is right there in black and white. When it happens, just remember I'm not a psychiatrist or a clinical mental health therapist.
NOTE: I continue to speak out on these issues because I feel humans are harmed when they are misdiagnosed with an invented disease so that others can make money by prescribing meds. The article above addresses the fact that even those in psychiatry admit that is exactly what is going on (if you don't believe me, maybe you'll believe them). The good news is it looks like now they're going to try to perform some real research; the bad news is, it won't really matter what the real research says... the momentum (and big money) now is unstoppable... we all know what that means.
Further reading: Mad As Hell (Part 1)