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Genetics is old hat now.

Epigenetics is the new pseudoscience.


Steven Novella again…


His latest science based blog

‘I came across an interesting study looking at the use of a pharmaceutical grade antioxidant, N-Acetylcysteine (NAC), in the treatment of certain symptoms of autism. This is a small pilot study, but it did have a double-blind placebo controlled design.’

but also

‘if this is a pilot study only and we should not base any firm conclusions on the results, then why the press release?’


‘Finally we need to include in our science education curriculum how to skeptically read science news.’


Yet the hypocrite has written in the past.. How Electric shocks fry the brain..

‘It has not been know exactly how ECT works. It is known that ECT reduces brain activity and raises seizure threshold (makes it less likely to have a seizure).  This implies that overall neuronal activity is reduced, so perhaps ECT is inhibiting overactivity in a part of the brain that is driving the depression. That hypothesis is supported by a recent study that uses fMRI scanning to look at brain activity in nine patients with major depression before and after ECT.’







I am a denialist now?

I have had an interesting debate on Dr. Novella’s blog where he has written a piece called Responding to a Szaszian. (A new religion!) It is his response to comments I had made on one of his old 5 part posts, Mental Illness Denial – Part I, where he basically dismisses the ideas of Szasz and others who are skeptical of the science that underpins psychiatry.  He also accused me of being a ‘troll’ because I had made a comment on his spiel regarding Alternative Medicine’s Attack on Science ,which I actually agreed with, but merely stated he had neglected to include psychiatry. But yes, I suppose I admit to being guilty troll on that count…..

So I received a few interesting comments which gave me pause for thought, as well as the usual insults and accusations of being a scientologist. What interested me more however, was the continual use of the word ‘denier’ and the relationship to creationism. I have encountered this use of language before, but it did make me think about why this term is now so prevalent in certain areas –  such as Climate Change debate etc. . . It is almost turning into a religious concept, as in the good old days when the terms ‘unbeliever’ or ‘heretic’ were at their most poisonous.

I have been reading a book recently, ‘Not Even Wrong’  by Peter Woit about the failure of string theory in the search for unity in physical law. I wonder if he has ever been accused of being a ‘string theory denier’  akin to being a proponent of intelligent design. I suppose, as Szasz has pointed out, belief in psychiatry has become the new secular religion.

Psychiatric drugs to enhance conformity to religious norms

The abuses of psychiatry never cease to amaze me…




Now I know why I always make the wrong menu choice in a restaurant.

….and am always jealous of the choice my partner has made. Even though I spend at least an hour searching through the multitude of mouth watering options only to eventually experience moderately severe disappointment.





DSM5 explained.

Brilliant! Well done!

From the psychiatric times…

Just to give you the flavour of the article………….

DSM-5 In the Homestretch—1. Integrating the Coding Systems

By James Phillips, MD | 07 March 2012

With DSM-5 scheduled for publication a little more than a year from now, we may safely assume that, barring unannounced surprises from, say, the APA Scientific Review Committee, what we will see on the DSM-5 Web site is what we will get. With that in mind it’s time to review what we will indeed get. But before moving to significant changes in the major disorder categories, we should remind ourselves where DSM-5 fits into the larger picture of coding mental illnesses.

There are, in case you have forgotten, two classificatory systems of mental disorders—the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), produced by the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), produced by the American Psychiatric Association. How are they related? It is a question that has confused me, and I assume, some of my psychiatric colleagues as well as others—other mental health professionals, and still others. For an answer to this question I asked Michael First, MD, Editor of DSM-IV-TR, Consultant on the WHO ICD-11 revision, and someone who knows much more about these matters than most of us. Here is his response to what I put as a question that could lend itself to a quick answer.

Dr First: I wish I could give you a quick answer, but as with any question about the coding, I need to give the background first.

This is how it works. The only official coding system in the United States is the ICD, produced by the WHO. The US has a treaty obligation to report health statistics using the ICD system. The US is still using a “clinical modification” of the WHO’s ICD-9 system (released in 1978) called ICD-9-CM. The diagnostic codes that appear in the DSM-IV are all legal ICD-9-CM codes. Clinicians fulfill their obligations to use the ICD-9-CM coding system by using the DSM-IV. When DSM-IV created its few new disorders, which were obviously not in the ICD-9-CM, the APA could either assign an existing ICD-9-CM code (which might be already used for another DSM-IV disorder, in which case multiple disorders would share the same code), or else request that the US Government to add a new code to the ICD-9-CM system (such a provision exists in the ICD-9-CM system to accommodate newly discovered or new subtypes of diseases), which is a year-long process.

When assigning an existing code, we would pick the code that was closest to the phenomenology of the new disorder. For example, ICD-9-CM had a code for “depressive neurosis,” which was then assigned to the DSM-III disorder “dysthymia,” because that ICD-9-CM concept came closest to the DSM-III concept. More often, for a category that was not really reflected in the ICD-9-CM at all, we would assign an “other” code, which are available throughout the ICD-9-CM precisely to accommodate the addition of new disorders. So for Bipolar II Disorder, which we added to DSM-IV, we picked the code 296.89, which corresponded to “Other Bipolar Disorder” in ICD-9-CM.

To be continued…..

Clear as mud then?

Am I dangerous?

Allen Frances asks the question.  Answer – yes of course. Your critiques of the DSM5 completely undermine the authority of the APA.

It is a shame that there was not one ‘dangerous’  person around when the DSM-IV was compiled.