8 jun. 2011

Bullshit Fields (13)

For obvious reasons, drug companies make very sure that their positive studies are published in medical journals and doctors know about them, while the negative ones often languish unseen within the FDA, which regards them as proprietary and therefore confidential. This practice greatly biases the medical literature, medical education, and treatment decisions.

In other words, the Texas Marksman's Fallacy.

There is an even more startling finding in one of the books reviewed here (Kirsch). Patients in a double-blind placebo study knew they were getting the real drug, and not a placebo, because of the side-effects. When given another drug with side effects, as a placebo, the difference in effectiveness between the real drug and the placebo disappeared! Unbe-fucking-lievable.

According to another author, Whitaker, reviewed here,
the natural history of mental illness has changed. Whereas conditions such as schizophrenia and depression were once mainly self-limited or episodic, with each episode usually lasting no more than six months and interspersed with long periods of normalcy, the conditions are now chronic and lifelong. Whitaker believes that this might be because drugs, even those that relieve symptoms in the short term, cause long-term mental harms that continue after the underlying illness would have naturally resolved.

5 comentarios:

Elisa dijo...

I just blogged about this article myself. I'd call bullshit on pharmaceuticals as a whole though.

Professor Zero dijo...

Well my haircutter has gotten on SSRIs and claims they help massively. Or could it be the new apartment, the therapist, the bicycle, and the new work situation? The way these things are marketed really reminds me of faith healing.

I am also inclined to believe the point on episodic vs. chronic and lifelong. But you have to realize, again, how heavily marketed those ideas have been.

I have a new b.s. field for you: social work!

Andrew Shields dijo...

A placebo with the same side effects as the drug being tested: brilliant!

Jonathan dijo...

I don't want to do social work, because that is such a low-status field already that I don't feel like piling on.

Professor Zero dijo...

I suppose, yes. I was thinking of those MSWs and BCSWs who are making big bucks as therapists with even less training and any kind than a psychoanalyst or a psychiatrist. But maybe that's not even a topic on research fields but on quackery in general.

Here's another useful book for and against psychoanalysis, from Routledge. I am getting quite in the review essay I could research and write on these volumes. I always feel guilty about not reading novels for recreation and about reading academic books in other fields, but I suppose the latter could be redefined as my official recreational reading. http://www.amazon.com/Against-Psychoanalysis-Stephen-Frosh/dp/1583917799/ref=sr_1_34?ie=UTF8&qid=1307650650&sr=8-34