Celebrity Science

January, 22, 2018 | 8 Comments


  1. You may have missed it – if so, lucky you! – but Dr. Lisa Rosenbaum has done a star turn as a psychiatry expert, too. Last year she wrote a series for the New England Journal of Medicine to explain why treatment for the “seriously mentally ill” is so lousy in the USA, and their life expectancy is so poor. American society, you see, is way, way too hung up on freedom. Worse yet, we love a pat, feel-good narrative, so we’re currently infatuated with the “recovery” movement.

    And so, allegedly, science-based efforts to actually help (i.e. medicate) people with mental illness are hamstrung by all sorts of do-gooder liberals who insist on “freedom of choice” for poor wretches who cannot make a meaningful choice about anything. What a tragedy, huh? Condemned to disability and death by too much freedom!

    http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMms1610124 “Liberty vs. Need”

    http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMms1610125 “Closing the Mortality Gap”

    If only it were half true. In fact, coercive forced-treatment schemes are on the rise, to the extent that several states allow even alcohol and drug addicts to be “treated” against their will. And ideas like Rosenberg’s, far from being iconoclastic, are the received conventional wisdom in psychiatry.

    It’s a quintessentially American tactic. No matter how powerful you are, position yourself as the gutsy underdog. And paint those who rebel against you, no matter how small and powerless, as some sort of crushing tidal wave of fashionable public opinion. Poor billionaires. Poor white male Harvard graduates, despised by everyone. Poor America, bullied and dissed by all these s—thole countries. Above all: poor doctors, scorned as greedy drug-company shills by an ignorant public.

    Dr. Lisa does mutter a few words of concern about the current crop of antipsychotic medicines. While “highly effective,” she says, they may have some tendency to cause “obesity and diabetes” and thus may “increase the cardiovascular burden.” But that’s about it. They’re a risk factor, maybe, but only in the sense that Dunkin’ Donuts are a risk factor. What’s really dangerous is all this naive well-meaning political correctness, standing between the Patient and the Cure.

    The fact that the drugs are not a cure—they do not vanquish psychosis like Prilosec vanquishes stomach acid—gets lost here. Not to mention the depressing outcomes for those who take them long-term. Even in the current pro-drug and pro-coercion climate, it would be hard for a psychiatrist to write stuff like this in a major journal. You’d have to present at least a modicum of evidence.

    That’s the magic of a Lisa Rosenbaum article. It’s published by a real M.D. and bears the seal of America’s most respected medical journal—yet it can be less fact-based than a column in USA Today or the Huffington Post. Best of both worlds.

  2. Guardian of the establishment’s corruptions.

    Hooman Noorchashm‏ @noorchashm 7h7 hours ago

    Replying to @LisaRosenbaum17

    .@jenniferlevitz .@TheCancerLetter .@NEJM You don’t seem to have that problem from your NEJM bully pulpit Lisa. Sad and Pathetic! Not a physician! Guardian of the establishment’s corruptions. https://davidhealy.org/celebrity-science/ …


    Tweets are my own


    Lisa Rosenbaum‏ @LisaRosenbaum17 10h10 hours ago

    That uncertainty is often viewed as weakness seems like a major problem for the culture of medicine, but also so hard to change. Has anyone worked in medical environments where it’s more acceptable to be uncertain?

    Dropped in the lap from – Hooman ..


    Caroline Montagu 22/01/2018 at 4:59 pm #

    Withdrawal from prescribed medicines such as benzodiazepines and ssris is often frightening and painful for the person and it is also frightening for the family. A centre such as REST takes some of the fear away and coincidentally helps the family. Keep it open. It is very valuable.

  3. Yes, withdrawal from ANY medication is probably far from easy. Withdrawal from antipsychotics is extremely frightening and painful – and so is withdrawal from benzodiazepines and ssris no doubt BUT FAR MORE FRIGHTENING IS THE LACK OF ACCEPTANCE OF THE NEED FOR WITHDRAWAL. Throwing your weight around about ‘a return of your mental health problems’ or ‘ no problems coming off 800mg of Quetiapine’ ( when you’re struggling on 400mg – you want to reduce; they want to increase) – those are the REAL STRUGGLES those who dare suggest withdrawal so often face.
    Withdrawal takes a long, long time and has to be done slowly. No one knows better than the patient at which speed they can cope with reductions. A centre which supports withdrawal must be a godsend for any patient lucky enough to have access to such a service – but, more than this, it should be an absolute right for those unfortunate patients who have no family or close friends to fall back on for support during withdrawal.
    One thing is for certain, many a journey can be faced alone – withdrawal is NOT one of them

  4. Of course, there are plenty of candidates – in the field of vaccines Brian Deer, Dorit Rubinstein-Reiss and Seth Mnookin immediately come to mind but I see Emily Willingham has already made it, which scarcely adds to the award’s prestige.



    Willingham’s crude little column has always been an exercise in flannel.

  5. Professor Wendy Burn, of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, added: ‘Addiction is a serious mental illness and the rising number of deaths by opioids make this review timely.’ 


    ‘Growing problem’ of addiction to prescription drugs probed


    Prescription drug addiction: what are your experiences in England?
    As the government launches an investigation into the growing problem of addiction to drugs such as painkillers, we want to hear your stories

    A colleague, Sarah Boseley, is at hand .. ?


    Now we have it – loud and clear – your addiction is your mental illness – twice labelled – one on top of the other –

    The PROBE will take a year

    while little eight year olds have little voices


    John said parents needed to be told in no uncertain terms about the potentially dangerous side effects of antidepressants.

    “You are brought up to listen to the doctor and believe everything they say. You’re told they know what they are talking about and you don’t. If they say you do something then you basically go and do it. You trust them implicitly,” he said.

    “This has been a very rude education in that in fact that’s not really the case.”

    “We took the doctor’s advice and it was only when everything went wrong that we realised that actually we should have taken more care in that. We didn’t appreciate the risks involved.”


    David Healy, professor of psychiatry at Bangor University in Wales, said it was hard to see how so many suicidal children could have been overlooked. “We think if you were to go in and look at this data, anyone without training will find there are at least of the order of 12 children becoming suicidal on this drug out of about 93 [who were given it],” he said.

    “This is a very high rate of kids going on to become suicidal. It doesn’t take expertise to find this. It takes extraordinary expertise to avoid finding it.”

  6. Science Media Centre

    expert reaction to drug trial protocol redactions by industry sponsors


    Dr Gillies O’Bryan-Tear, Chair of the Policy and Communications Group, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine, said:

    “From the outset, in the title, it’s clear what the authors have set out to prove in this review of industry sponsored protocols: that the industry conceals its study designs and in so doing, is harming patients. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    It is surprising that there still exists in academia the view that the pharma industry is trying to hide important safety and efficacy data from public scrutiny.

    Prof. Tony Fox, Professor of Pharmaceutical Medicine, King’s College London, said:

    “I should also point out that the UK has a reputation for transparency of clinical trial protocols.

    Glaxo (now GSK) actually began publishing long before Clintrials.gov (etc)

    See:  Sykes R Being a modern pharmaceutical company BMJ 1998; 317: 1172.  As for law, the EMA does have a guidance and a policy on what can be legitimately redacted.”

    Tetchy and Touchy ..

  7. The world and his dog are talking Mental Health @Cheerful Podcast ..


    Simon Wessely Retweeted

    Ed Miliband‏Verified account @Ed_Miliband 18h18 hours ago

    Delighted to announce that our live show of @CheerfulPodcast on Sunday is on mental health with very special guests @Rubywax , @george_ezra , @ayeshahazarika and @WesselyS. If you’re coming see you there. If not, listen soon…

    Meet the Real Celebrities ..


    Me and my mum are starting a prescribed medication withdrawal peer support group

  8. In my Province,there is an epidemic of drug addiction and death from narcotics.Last year over four hundred deaths mostly due to “elephant sized Fentanyl !Now the experts in our Public Health have legalized Cannabis!Wait for the young overloading our emergency rooms! My colleagues in emerg call it a FLOOD!

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