The basic assumptions behind unethical practices like lobotomies and insulin shock therapy are still the foundation on which psychiatry’s main treatments are built today.
A new paper is touted as showing that deep brain stimulation "provides a robust antidepressant effect." Among the 28 patients in the study, 56 serious adverse events were reported, including infection, hemorrhage of the cortex and post-operative seizure. Yet the authors conclude that the results "support the long-term safety and sustained efficacy" of DBS.
The published report of the Broaden Trial of Deep Brain Stimulation for Depression whitewashed the results: although the efficacy results were negative, the investigators concluded that the therapy still showed "promise", and adverse events suffered by the patients were downplayed or attributed to the disease, and not the treatment. An in-depth investigation of how the trial results were spun, and interviews with patients that tell of harm done.
A new paper published in Bioethics assesses proposals to “enhance morality” through neuropharmacological and neurotechnological interventions.