Dr. Nardo on the Curse of Insel’s Legacy


In his reaction to Dr. Makari’s Opinion piece in the ‘Times, entitled Psychiatry’s Mind-Brain Problem, Dr. Nardo articulates why the legacy of NIMH director Thomas Insel is so dangerous. “He may have kept the researchers from spinning off and following some idiosyncratic path, but he did it by forcing them to follow his own idiosyncratic path.”

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  1. Very apt point being made here. I don’t think I could have said it better. I don’t think Thomas Insel would have left the NIMH for Google without a fight if he hadn’t left the shadow of his presence guiding the direction the NIMH was taking. This is to say that I don’t think Insel would have left the NIMH without this demand for evidence of bio-markers and affected neural circuitry. One can’t, in this atmosphere, get research funding from the NIMH without being biased in favor of biological reductive psychiatry. Researchers should, in actuality, be looking at results, not for reinforcement of theory. It may not be idiosyncratic if a number of researchers hold the same view, however that doesn’t make it science. Science isn’t about proving this theory or that. Science is about disproving theories. It is idiosyncratic to favor one view over another, and especially so without supporting evidence.