In an interview with the Scientific American, Stanford psychiatrist and neuroscientist, Amit Etkin, comments on the “wrong path” that psychiatry has taken as a field and his hopes for the future. “A report that came out recently in Health Affairs showed that spending within our health system in the U.S. is greater for mental illness than for any other area of medicine, and yet our understanding of these illnesses is incredibly backwards. Treatments are no different than they were 40 years ago, so that feels like a problem that is only getting bigger without an obvious solution,” Etkin writes. “The long and short of it is that people have named syndromes or disorders that they don’t actually know represent a valid entity that is distinct from another entity.”
For STAT news, Pharmalot correspondent Ed Silverman reports on a new guideline being drafted by the FDA that adds new rules that could restrict someone from serving on an advisory panel. “Appearances are almost as important as actual conflicts,” said Dr. Michael Carome of Public Citizen. “If there are multiple instances where there are appearance questions, it can have negative consequences and undermine public trust in the review process.”
For the Huffington Post, David Freeman asks “By tamping down anxious feelings, could it be that these so-called “anxiolytic” drugs are blunting our empathy and rendering us less willing to lend a helping hand to those in need?”
An editorial in The Lancet Psychiatry discusses the potential harms that come with the use of the medicalized language of mental health. Medicalization, which can be “responsible for applying harmful labels to suffering individuals in the form of diagnoses and pseudo-technical descriptions,” has crept into social and political explanations of violence and terrorism. But another form of medicalization, what the editor’s dub “non-medical medicalization,” has grown up alongside this tendency, providing clinical weight to non-clinical social phenomena.
The annual meeting of the UK’s Royal College of Psychiatrists is in full swing at the moment in London. The conference will again not be debating important new findings about antipsychotic drug treatment. Two years ago the conference organising committee rejected a suggestion to discuss this issue. This year I proposed a similar symposium. The proposal was rejected again. I am extremely concerned that the Royal College conference organising committee do not appear to be aware of the importance of this issue.
Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (Tf-CBT) is effective at reducing the symptoms associated with PTSD in children and adolescents, according to a new trial out of Germany. The multicenter randomized control trial, published this month in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, found the intervention to be significantly superior to control conditions at reducing negative emotional and behavioral responses following various types of trauma and abuse.
NYU has shut down eight studies in its medical school’s prestigious psychiatric center, the New York Times reports. A top researcher has also been removed after the university discovered a series of ethical violations in experiments with dangerous drugs.
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