I thought this guy is supposed to be a trained scientist, but it certainly is not evident from the "logic" displayed here. Some depression is very likely of psychological origin, but that is certainly not the case with all depressions. The idea that the "rapidly growing knowledge of the brain" should automatically lead to a corresponding degree is progress in developing drugs to treating mental illness is remarkably simplistic and ignorant. First of all the there has been an increased improvement of treatments for various mental illness over the years, but while we know so much more about the brain and its functioning than we did just 20 years ago, there is so much more that is yet to be known, as any good research scientist in this area would tell us. And that the fact that the drugs used to treat mental illnesses are not always effective does not ipso facto argue for Wallace's point of view, but it does point to the fact that science is still scratching the surface the brain's functioning/chemistry. The issues around the question of depression, the mind/body process, are far more complicated than Wallace is portraying them, and an article such as this does no real service to such a complicated and delicate issue as this.Mental disorders stem primarily from subjective mental processes, which in turn affect the brain. My underlying hypothesis here is that the mind and brain are causally interrelated but are not identical. Evidence suggests that depression is best understood as a mental disorder, so effective cures will be found by examining its principal psychological causes. This way of distinguishing between mental and neurological disorders helps to explain why our rapidly growing knowledge of the brain has not resulted in a corresponding degree of progress in developing drugs to treat mental diseases.
New generation anti-depressants have little clinical benefit for most patients, research suggests.
The University of Hull team reviewed published clinical trial data, and unpublished data secured under Freedom of Information legislation.
They found the drugs helped only a small group of the most severely depressed, and in most cases had no more effect than taking a dummy pill.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists said the findings were "very important".
In total, the Hull team, who published their findings in the journal PLoS Medicine, reviewed data on 47 clinical trials.
They focused on drugs in the class known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), which work by increasing levels of the mood controlling chemical serotonin in the brain.
These included fluoxetine (Prozac), venlafaxine (Efexor) and paroxetine (Seroxat) - all commonly prescribed in the UK.
There seems little reason to prescribe anti-depressant medication to any but the most severely depressed patients
Professor Irving Kirsch
University of Hull
The number of prescriptions for anti-depressants hit a record high in England in 2006 - even though official guidance stresses they should not be a first line treatment for mild depression.
The researchers found that even the positive effects seen on severely depressed patients were relatively small, and open to interpretation.
The seemingly good result came from the fact that these patients' response to the placebo decreased, rather than any notable increase in their response to anti-depressants.
Lead researcher Professor Irving Kirsch said: "The difference in improvement between patients taking placebos and patients taking anti-depressants is not very great.
"This means that depressed people can improve without chemical treatments.
"Given these results, there seems little reason to prescribe anti-depressant medication to any but the most severely depressed patients, unless alternative treatments have failed to provide a benefit."
Professor Kirsch said the findings called into question the current system of reporting drug trials.
Dr Tim Kendall, deputy director of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Research Unit, has published research concluding that drug companies tend only to publish research which shows their products in a good light.
He said the Hull findings undermined confidence in the ability to draw meaningful conclusions about the merit of drugs based on published data alone.
He called for drug companies to be forced to publish all their data.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is currently reviewing its guidance on the use of antidepressants.
A spokesman for GlaxoSmithKline, which makes Seroxat, said the study only looked at a "small subset of the total data available".
And Eli Lilly, which makes Prozac, said that "extensive scientific and medical experience has demonstrated it is an effective anti-depressant".
I don't see that article, when actually read in toto, as necessarily supporting Wallace.robertk wrote:I think Wallace is only repeating what many mainstrem scientsist are saying:. . .
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