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cinephile

Coming soon to a psychiatrist near you: Personalized medicine!

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cinephile

One Boring Old Man is dropping something of a bombshell over at his blog about what psychiatry may very well look like in the future. He's talking about "Personalized Medicine" which is the newest in a long line of "revolutionary" reforms of medicine (evidence-based practice is one we all know about) that sounds great on paper but is often in practice corrupted by pharmaceutical greed. Basically, this is how I understand his blog posts:

 

"Personalized medicine" is seen by many medical fields (not just psychiatry) as an antidote to the increasingly dehumanizing assembly line/one-size-fits-all managed care mess that so many patients deal with in this country. Of course, psychiatry has major egg on its face for perhaps being the WORST perpetrator of this, what with the explosive popularity of 15 minute med checks passing off as a "therapy appointment" where patients' complex psychiatric problems are boiled down to getting a handful of prescriptions in the time it takes most of us to take a shower. AND the promise of personalized medicine allows psychiatry to take itself off the hook for its embarrassing lack of logic and diagnostic tools in prescribing meds. It's well known psychiatrists have patients cycle through multiple drugs until they finally find one that works for a patient.

 

But what's that psychiatry sees in the horizon as the big wunderkind of the future, to cure what ails their profession? Personalized medicine of course! Basically, there are now preliminary studies "authored" by the usual KOL vomit bags like Charles Nemeroff (remember him?) that are finding tenuous (at best) links between certain genetic variances and how well someone will respond to a certain psych drug. That's right folks: once again psychiatry is making us big promises about mega technology that is "just around the corner" and this time it's marrying genetic mapping with psych drugs to "personalize" psychiatric care. The only problem is we may actually know LESS about genetics and their connections to mental disorders than we do about psych drugs and their mechanism of action! But don't tell that to the APA -- once again, all they really care about is fooling the public into making them BELIEVE they have such technology, just like they did with psych meds (remember how we were all fooled with the "chemical imbalance" theory?).

 

And gee, all this hubbub of personalized medicine wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that the psych med market is oversaturated and doesn't have any more growth potential does it? The pharma companies have long since realized they've tweaked the molecules of the "me too" drugs as much as possible. And let's not also forget that many of their "blockbuster" drugs are going off patent. Hmm, I would just be SHOCKED if they don't start charging exorbitant fees for "genetic testing" to supply them new revenue streams, wouldn't you? :angry:

 

I probably don't need to say this here, but I will anyway: protect yourselves, folks. Stay far, far away from psychiatry and this "personalized medicine" swindle.

 

*One last goodie: Check out the quote below from Chuck Nemeroff, which once again promises a blissful future for psychiatry, and how similar it is to the hype psychiatrists were dishing out for SSRIs in the 90s (the second quote is from a passage from ANATOMY OF AN EPIDEMIC):

 

Compare this:

 

Ten or 20 years from now, we will be sending our patients to the laboratory to characterize them in terms of genetic polymorphisms and/or to an imaging laboratory. Then based on those findings, and on the clinical presentation of the patient, we will be able to do what we can't do right now, which is to answer the question—of all the treatments that are effective for depression, what is the best one for this particular patient?

To this

 

Prozac, [psychiatrist Peter Kramer] wrote, was making some patients "better than well." An era of "cosmetic psychopharmacology" was dawning, Kramer suggested, with psychiatry likely to have pills in the near future that could give normal people whatever personality they wanted. His book spent twenty-one weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and soon Newsweek was warning readers that it was time for society to start grappling with the ethical questions raised by psychiatry's new powers. "The same scientific insights into the brain that led to the development of Prozac are raising the prospect of nothing less than mail-to-order, off-the-shelf personalities," Newsweek explained in 1994. Will those who refuse to "give their brain a makeover," the magazine asked, be left behind? Gushed neuropsychiatrist Richard Restak, "For the first time in human history, we will be in a position to design our own brains."

Getting a whiff of deja vu here?

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Healing

That's right folks: once again psychiatry is making us big promises about mega technology that is "just around the corner" and this time it's marrying genetic mapping with psych drugs to "personalize" psychiatric care. The only problem is we may actually know LESS about genetics and their connections to mental disorders than we do about psych drugs and their mechanism of action!

 

Good point, Cine. The over-simplification of genetics and epigenetics in applied / clinical science takes my breath away.

 

It's like giving a nuclear reactor to children to play with. Oh wait, we did that too....

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Altostrata

I'm developing a crush on that boring old man. :wub:

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compsports

I'm developing a crush on that boring old man. :wub:

 

Hands off, I have claimed him already.

 

CS

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cinephile

Sur - What about adding 1boringoldman to the front page list of "recommended sites"?

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