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Brain Scans, Antidepressants and Tea Leaves
  1. #1
    Miles is offline Member
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    Default Brain Scans, Antidepressants and Tea Leaves

    [u]The Lie</u>:

    “We have brain pictures of people who have depression and people who don’t. You can see the difference in their brain images. You can see when they are treated successfully, either with medication or with psychotherapy or both, their brain returns to normal.”

    [u]Facts</u>:

    The Archives of Psychiatry published the results of a 2004 study in which brain scans from a group of 17 “depressed” participants who received psychological therapy were compared to results of a completely different study from 2001 in which the participants were taking an antidepressant. While the 2004 study claimed that the subjects were “un-medicated,” only six of the subjects were “drug-naive” —that is, they had not taken psychotropic drugs. The rest had been “antidepressant-free” within the month preceding the study.

    This alone makes the study questionable. Dr. Elliott Valenstein, Ph.D., says: “It is well established that the drugs used to treat a mental disorder, for example, may induce long-lasting biochemical and even structural changes [including in the brain], which in the past were claimed to be the cause of the disorder, but may actually be an effect of the treatment.” Further, “it is now difficult to find mental patients who have not had a history of drug treatment, and as a result many of the brain abnormalities found in these patients are probably iatrogenic [doctor/treatment caused], that is, produced by the treatment rather than being the cause of the disorder.”

    The bottom line is that the Archives of Psychiatry study did not confirm Stotland’s statement. The authors state that therapy “seems” to affect recovery, but the results are not conclusive. Further, “improvement” from therapy was measured with the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS). This rating scale is about as scientific as reading tealeaves. The subjects were diagnosed with “major depression” using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-III and DSM-IV), which has been ridiculed as an unscientific document and an unreliable tool for diagnosis.

    Dr. Joseph Glenmullen of the Harvard Medical School and author of Prozac Backlash says that patients respond to questions on the HDRS such as “I get tired for no reason,” “I have trouble sleeping at night,” “I notice that I am losing weight,” “I feel down-hearted and blue.” Each item has a numerical score, representing a scale from experiencing these “a little of the time” up to “most of the time.” He states, “While assigning a number to a patient’s depression may look scientific, when one examines the questions asked and the scales used, they are utterly subjective measures based on what the patient reports or a rater’s impressions.”

    The study is based on a subjective and arbitrary questionnaire and brain scans that cannot scientifically link brain changes to therapy. Indeed, the study speaks in terms of “suggestion” and “seems” rather than fact. It also admits that brain scan imaging studies have not established a “consistent pattern” in brain changes as a result of therapy.

  2. #2
    bn7
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    Miles,

    You use a lot of CCHR articles. Are you a scientologist?

  3. #3
    Miles is offline Member
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    bn7:

    No.

    Miles

  4. #4
    bn7
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    Miles,

    I just thought I'd ask.

    I've read many of your posts and I really like what you have to say. I just a bit suss on scientologists. But you’re not one of them so your posts carry a lot more weight and I can admire what you say with a clear conscience. Sorry if I caused any offence.

    In the past I've used a few CCHR articles and Ive been slammed as a cult weirdo. It's a shame, the CCHR have some good articles. Anyway I avoid using them now. LOL.

    Keep up the good work Miles!

    PS You might find this article of interest. It's hot!
    http://psychrights.org/Research/Dige...0yearecord.pdf

    Cheers mate!

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    Miles is offline Member
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    bn7:

    Many thanks for the kind words. Although not a scientologist, I do adhere to the writings of psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Szasz, one of the preeminent critics of psychiatry and a CCHR Advisory Board member. Additional thanks for the Bob Whitaker article! I have just printed it and will pore it over this afternoon.

    I understand your being excoriated when citing CCHR literature. You have probably read several posts at this site where I have been jumped as well. Those of us who choose not to buy into the myth of mental illness and the reductionist thinking that all human behavior can be explained in biochemical terms must be thick-skinned and persistent. Stay strong!

    With kindest regards,
    Miles


  6. #6
    bn7
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    Miles,

    I hope you found that Whitaker article useful.

    I've been searching around the net looking for articles on the placebo effect. I can find heaps on sugar pill (meds) placebos, but I am searching for any studies relating to (I suppose) the placebo effect of consulting a person with qualifications such as a psychiatrist or psychologist as opposed to a freind.

    It does seem these days that people are reluctant to discuss their life problems with friends; the only people they will take any notice from is a quack with a certificate.

    Do you know of any studies that demonstrate this "placebo" effect of consulting a shrink instead of a friend? I am just sick of people that think their bio-psychiatrist are gods. It's ridiculous; none of bio-psychiatry's fundamental claims have been proved. Why do people believe in shrinks more than the average Joe Blow in the street?
    The advertising marketing boys in psychopharmacology are something else!!!

    I just thought you'd be a good person to ask. No worries if you don't know of anything of the top of your head. I'll keep looking.

    Cheers.



  7. #7
    Miles is offline Member
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    Hello bn7:

    I am not familiar with any research that addresses the specific question of placebos in the context of psychiatric consultation, but I will ask my colleagues if they know of anything.

    Yes, Bob Whitaker’s article was among one of the best written I have seen lately on the effects of neuroleptics on “mental health.” Thank you for pointing it out. So much of what I see is sponsored by the drug manufacturers and falls into the category of what I call “junk science.”

    To answer your question about the influence of biopsychiatry on contemporary thinking, I subscribe to the thinking of Thomas Szasz. The collaboration between government and psychiatry results in what Szasz calls the "therapeutic state," a system in which disapproved thoughts, emotions, and actions are repressed ("cured") through pseudomedical interventions. Thus illegal drug use, smoking, overeating, gambling, shoplifting, sexual promiscuity, pederasty, rambunctiousness, shyness, anxiety, unhappiness, racial bigotry, unconventional religious beliefs, and suicide are all considered diseases or symptoms of diseases - things that happen to people against their will. Szasz believes this sort of thinking undermines individual responsibility and invites coercive paternalism.

    All one has to do is scan through the postings on this site for evidence of reductionist thinking – virtually every problem in daily living can be reduced to biochemistry if one believes such tripe. Dr. Szasz has taught me that the mind is essentially “potentially infinite varieties of self-conversation.” How can conversation be ill? Illness is a medical term that has a specific meaning, but is used metaphorically (a “sick joke,” a “sick society,” e.g.). Dr. Szasz uses the term “Slavespeak” to demonstrate how language is used by some to gain advantages over others and effectively victimize them. Slavespeak consists of words used by some to control, dominate, and exploit victims. In turn, the victims perpetuate their "victimhood" be accepting the words and definitions of Slavespeak and using them as if valid.

    If one person uses words like "aristocrat" and "king" to identify and describe himself, while another uses words like "commoner" and "subject" to identify and describe himself, then the former gains advantages over the latter. The person who accepts and goes along with the designations of "commoner" and "subject" - just by accepting and using these terms as if valid - places himself in an inferior position in relation to the person designated as "aristocrat" and "king."

    Granted, we've been living in a world where in earlier times, if you didn't acknowledge the tyrant as "king," you got your head chopped off. And in "modern times," if you don't acknowledge "political authority," most people will think you're crazy. The answer is to pretend to acknowledge "authority" when that's necessary to preserve your freedom or life; otherwise to expose and ridicule all terms and definitions that result in master/slave positioning whenever appropriate.

    In his 2001 book (already a classic!), Pharmacracy: Medicine and Politics in America, Dr. Szasz coins the term “pharmacracy” to further his assault on his profession of psychiatry. He focuses on what he sees as medicine's threat to human liberty, which he coins "pharmacracy". Medical killing in Nazi Germany is seen as an example of paternalistic state protection of incompetent individuals in the interests of health. Szasz sees modern medical practice as infused by the same ideology. As far as he is concerned, many human problems are illegitimately transformed into "diseases."

    Stay strong!

    Regards,
    Miles

  8. #8
    bn7
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    quote:Originally posted by Miles

    Hello bn7:

    Granted, we've been living in a world where in earlier times, if you didn't acknowledge the tyrant as "king," you got your head chopped off. And in "modern times," if you don't acknowledge "political authority," most people will think you're crazy. The answer is to pretend to acknowledge "authority" when that's necessary to preserve your freedom or life; otherwise to expose and ridicule all terms and definitions that result in master/slave positioning whenever appropriate.
    According to Foucault this 'above' mechanism of power has slowly been displaced over the centuries by a new mechanism of social control "normalisation"!

    To me it seems a main contributing force to the therapeutic state. This new mechanism of power:

    Establishes social control through a system of normalising judgment that is exercised by people in the evaluation of there own and each other’s lives.

    Instills in people the aspiration to achieve a grant of normative worth.

    Is located in circuits of shifting coalitions and alliances that have both competing and overlapping interests, featuring relatively arbitrary participation that is forged by specific circumstances that are often of a quite temporary nature.

    Is defined and refined at the local level of culture.

    People actively participate with the fashioning of their own and each other’s lives according to the social constructs and norms of contemporary culture.

    Acts to disperse a populous by allocating each person a specific location in relation to contemporary norms about life an identity, so contributing to the cellularisation/individulisation of life.

    Recruits people into the surveillance of their own and each other’s lives.

    Employs a technology of power that is characterised by continuums of normality/abnormality, tables of performance, scales and for the rating of human expression, formulae for ranking persons in relation to each other, and specific procedures of assessment and evaluation that makes possible the insertion of people's lives into these continuums, tables, scales and ranking systems.
    ----------

    The above helps put the treatment, identified in Whitakers article of so-called schizophernics into perspective.

    It's good to identify what we're fighting. I deliberately do abnormal things just to piss normalised people off. Szasz is right they're in a consensus trance. No wonder the labeled me a chronic schiziophrenic. LOL. And no, I don't take brain damaging medication. I'm a victim of coercive psychiatry but I escaped, stopped the meds and pretty much recovered as tp the paradigm identified by the WHO studies into recovery rates of SZ's that don't take meds in poorer countries.
    But you're right, I do try not stand out as much as I used to, but sometimes I just cant help it when I'm surrounded by bleeting sheep in the slaughter yard. tee hee!

    Cheers Miles and keep up the good work.

    Stay defiant!

  9. #9
    bn7
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    MindFreedom International News - 8 Nov. 2005
    http://www.MindFreedom.org - please forward

    Researchers Say Psychiatric Drug Ads Mislead Public About "Chemical Imbalance"

    Why Would The US Food & Drug Administration Approve False Advertising?

    Millions of viewers have seen the TV ads for the anti-depressant drug Zoloft.

    A bouncing ball turns from a sad face to a happy face. Like many ads for similar psychiatric drugs, the voice-over claims Zoloft helps correct a "chemical imbalance."

    The December 2005 issue of a peer-reviewed medical journal will include an essay by two scientific researchers that debunks
    psychiatric drug advertising claims about a "chemical imbalance."

    Countless consumers choose to take psychiatric drugs based on these claims.

    Why would the US Food and Drug Administration approve false ads for the SSRI drugs?

    The human rights group MindFreedom International has been asking that question for a long time.

    On behalf of MindFreedom, US Senator Ron Wyden contacted the FDA for an explanation about why they approve such false advertising. In their response -- which took over one year -- the FDA
    could cite no scientific literature or studies.

    It turns out there's a good reason the FDA can't find any scientific evidence for these ads.

    The scientific evidence does not exist.

    This new medical journal essay concludes, "The incongruence between the scientific literature and the claims made in FDA-regulated SSRI advertisements is remarkable, and possibly unparalleled."
    -----------------

    NEWS RELEASE

    Contact: Paul Ocampo press at plos.org
    415-624-1224 - Public Library of Science

    Ads for SSRI antidepressants are misleading, say researchers.

    Consumer ads for a class of antidepressants called SSRIs often claim that depression is due to a chemical imbalance in the brain, and that SSRIs correct this imbalance, but these claims are not supported by scientific evidence, say researchers in PLoS Medicine.

    Although scientists in the 1960s suggested that depression may be linked to low brain levels of the chemical serotonin (the so-called "serotonin hypothesis"), contemporary research has failed to confirm the hypothesis, they say.

    The researchers -- Jeffrey Lacasse, adoctoral candidate at Florida State University and Dr. Jonathan Leo, a neuroanatomy professor at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine -- studied US consumer advertisements for SSRIs from print, television, and the Internet. They found widespread claims that SSRIs restore the serotonin balance of the brain. "Yet there is no such thing as a scientifically established correct 'balance' of serotonin," the authors say.

    According to Lacasse and Leo, in the scientific literature it is openly admitted that the serotonin hypothesis remains unconfirmed and that there is "a growing body ofmedical literature casting doubt on the serotonin hypothesis," which is not reflected in the consumer ads.

    For instance, the widely televised animated Zoloft (setraline) commercials have dramatized a serotonin imbalance and stated, "Prescription Zoloft works to correct this imbalance." Advertisements for other SSRIs, such as Prozac (fluoxetine), Paxil (paroxetine), and Lexapro (escitalopram), have made similar claims.

    In the US, the FDA is responsible for regulating consumer advertisements, and requires that they be based on scientific evidence. Yet, according to Lacasse and Leo, the mismatch between the scientific literature and the SSRI advertisements is "remarkable, and possibly unparalleled."

    And while the Irish equivalent of the FDA, the Irish Medicines Board, recently banned GlaxoSmithKline from claiming in their patient information leaflets that paroxetine (Paxil) corrects a chemical imbalance, the FDA has never taken any similar action on this issue.

    Commenting on Lacasse and Leo's work, Professor David Healy of the North Wales Department of Psychological Medicine, said: "The serotonin theory of depression is comparable to the masturbatory theory of insanity. Both have been depletion theories, both have survived in spite of the evidence, both contain an implicit message as to what people ought to do. In the case of these myths, the key question is whose interests are being served by a widespread promulgation of such views rather than how do we test this theory."

    Dr Joanna Moncrieff, Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry at University College London, said: "It is high time that it was stated clearly that the serotonin imbalance theory of depression is not supported by the scientific evidence or by expert opinion. Through misleading publicity the pharmaceutical industry has helped to ensure that most of the general public is unaware of this."

    ###

    Citation: Lacasse JR, Leo J (2005)
    Serotonin and depression: A
    disconnect between the advertisements
    and the scientific literature. PLoS
    Med 2(12): e392.

    And

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

    http://medicine.plosjournals.org/per...l.pmed.0020392

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