Thursday, February 28, 2008

Don't Panic Folks. Antidepressants Still Do Work. 2/28/08
<--- That is the link to the print-friendly version (easier on the eyes to read) of an article regarding the literature review in question that has been popularly and erroneously reported by the press with inflammatory headlines such as "Gasp! Oh noes! Anti-depressants do not work."

[N.B. will yield several user names and passwords that one can utilize to view the article.]

According to the Medscape article Study Identifies Bias in Favor of Publishing Positive Antidepressant Trials
written by Marlene Busko, "The team identified the phase 2 and 3 clinical-trial programs for 12 antidepressants approved by the FDA between 1987 and 2004, which involved 12,564 adult patients. They also determined whether the FDA judged the studies to be positive or negative with respect to primary end points."

Actually, the literature review (which was published in The New England Journal of Medicine on January 17, 2008) maintains that S.S.R.I.s are more effective than placebos; however not so much more effective as the public has been led to believe. In other words, this review says yeah the stuff works but maybe the difference between the drugs and the placebos are not as great as the public has been led to believe.

a).The FDA uses the data that is favorable to the purposes of the FDA (in deciding to license a drug for use).
1). Negative results are sometimes used by the FDA as showing positive results.
2). Negative results are sometimes ignored by the FDA.

b). A bias may exist in reporting or people do not always have access to negative research study results.
1). Peer review journals may not accept negative research studies' results for publication at a similar rate to the acceptance of positive research studies results.
2). Some researchers for whatever reasons may not submit those studies.

In terms of the numbers of test subjects, in many cases more people were used in the discounted research studies than in some of the studies that were reported/factored into the FDA decisions to license a drug. The discounted studies often had a higher reliability factor than the ones that the FDA based their licensing decisions on.

This particular study was a review of the literature available rather than its' own research study using . The reviewers found that a bias exists in the public reporting of results rather than that the "antidepressants don't work" as incorrectly reported by the popular press.

The team was quoted in the Busko Medscape article as saying:
"Each drug, when submitted to a meta-analysis, was superior to placebo. On the other hand, the true magnitude of each drug's superiority to placebo was less than a diligent review of the literature would indicate."

There was no mention in the original literature review of the distinction between those who are clinically depressed and those who are experiencing situational depression. The purpose of the original literature review was not to take a side on the shrinks rule and N.A.M.I. mommies know best vs. the anti-psychiatry debate.

The reporting of this literature review by the popular media (e.g. newspapers) has been absolutely horrible and inaccurate.

radical sapphoq

cross-posted to some other places.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Leak on Wikileaks, Leak On

Any of you who have been following the drama over at Wikileaks will be glad to know that following this here linkage: will get you there (a mirror site from Sweden) for the time being anyways. Alternate linkage outside of the United States was part of the original plan-- to have sites set up in various countries should the courts of one country succeed in getting a shutdown order. Here's another one, this one is based in England: .

Wikileaks protects whistle-blowers from corporations (or governments) who would much rather not have folks tattling on any suspicious practices. Recently, a Swiss bank challenged Wikileaks and now the site is facing a court battle with the United States versus responsible exercise of the First Amendment. Bloggers across the internet have protested the February 15 court decision and this blogger too joins in the fray. Buzz-flash has quite a few things to say about this whole mess over at: .

Quite amazing to me is that the court case took place in the United States. While the order to erase the D.N.S. from U.S. servers will certainly not hold up on appeal,
2008/02/us-court-order-shuts-down-activist-site.html<--- here
it is disconcerting that this case involving documents regarding a Swiss bank doing business in the Cayman Islands made it court on United States soil. Still, we are far better off living here than in places like Egypt where one can be severely physically beaten for dissident web-surfing and document leaking or in Red China or even Vietnam where folks have been imprisoned for similar activities.

radical sapphoq
cross-posted all over

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Autistic Kids Grow Up...

Christopher DeGroot had autism. Because he reportedly would bolt from the apartment that he lived in with his parents Nicolaas and Agnes, they locked the windows and doors. Because they needed to go do things like feed their horses without their son, they left him alone in the apartment which was secured against his escape into traffic. Their 19 year old son who had severe autism was left alone in
their apartment for several hours a day so they could go do chores. In my opinion,
leaving a severely disabled man alone in an apartment without supervision is wrong
on so many levels. Even if Christopher DeGroot possessed the knowledge of what to
do during an emergency, the deadbolt on the door and the locks on the windows precluded any means to get out. And if he was unable to act during an emergency on
his own behalf due to his disabling condition, he should have had a (hired if necessary) caretaker supervising him in his parents' absence.

On Sunday May 14th, 2006 the apartment did indeed catch on fire. Two family cats were saved. One firefighter was injured. 77K of damage was caused to the apartment building and stuff inside of it. Christopher, then 19, had to be airlifted to a hospital in Portland, Oregon. The burns covered 80% of his body. He died on Friday May 19th, 2006.

Nicolaas and Agnes reported to the police station as requested for questioning. They were charged with first-degree arson and first- or second-degree manslaughter. (Report of the manslaughter charges differ in degree). The fire was thought to be caused by arson, specifically by Nicolaas and Agnes DeGroot setting fire to paper in the middle of the living room floor and then leaving their son to burn while they left to feed the bloody horses.

Yeah, they had their day in court where they (via separate attorneys) were allowed to Alford plea the charges. An Alford plea means that the defendants admit that the State can prove its' case against them, but falls short of admitting any guilt on the part of the defendants. The original charges were pled down to criminal negligent homicide.

Two people testified that Nicolaas and Agnes De Groot were cool and devoted parents. Nice to their autistic son, caring about his needs, blah blah blah. The judge decided that the parents did not intend any bad vibes when they left their severely autistic son alone in the apartment without any supervision. He sentenced Nicolaas and Agnes DeGroot to six months in the county jail.

This is a case that in my opinion should never have been allowed to be Alford plea'd.

Autistic kids do grow up to be autistic adults unless their uh devoted parents kill them.


Parents charged with first-degree arson and first- or second-degree manslaughter:

Alford pleas and a sentence to six month in the county jail:

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Good Mourning Stupor Tuesday

Teens used to be given ice pick lobotomies. I once knew an old man. He was given one back in the day. He was a rebellious teen. Among other "horrid" transgressions, he smoked cigarettes. He still does. Years wasted on the back wards. Oh bloody hell. Shove him into a group home. The food is better there at least. Here's some more pills. We don't know if you truly would have needed them as an adolescent but you sure do need them now.

Every label is a catch-all. So the labels will keep devolving.

Briefly the nation mourns the fall of another pop icon star into the throes of mania. Dressing without underwear is grounds for psychiatric imprisonment even of the the rich and infamous. I feel badly for her doggies. I weigh in on the side of animal welfare, not animal rights. I detest PETA and their dog houses for wolves campaign over at Penn's Caves. Evolution, anyone? The wolves came first. They didn't want the dog houses that you forced the owners of Penn's Caves to airlift/drop in. They pissed all over them and tore them up. And went back to their dens which they had carved out of the side of the mountain that is theirs. We have forgotten how to live. My feet have forgotten how to feel the nuances of bare uneven ground. The cane leans against the wall of a hallway. I force my feet to feel. I never gave a damn about the supposed window of improvement after a traumatic brain injury. There are no bars on my windows. Somewhere in a locked ward, a pop star is forced to put on underwear daily. Compliance has its' own rewards. If she is proper and placating and fawning, she may get to pick today's movie. If she becomes invested in the goals you have set up for her, she may get out in ten days.

Devolving from dogs to wolves, from dog houses to dens.

Neuroleptics have helped people to become productive members of society. Some folks who weren't able to work, who were plagued by hallucinations and or other rotten malfunctions of their neurology are now able to work. A few even manage to hold down real jobs, not the legalized poverty of sub-waged existence found in the sheltered workshops or T-projects. "It's better than staying home," the salaried proponents of The System retort. Oh yeah. Warehousing the different is good because society is judged by outward appearances. Shove the disabled out of sight. We the forgotten people-- fat people, people who hallucinate, curse too much, limp, are missing limbs, don't wear proper white cotton underwear, aren't properly happy about our situations-- don't deserve to have a voice. So a charity made up of parents sues an autistic teen for daring to mock it with her own website. These parents think they can speak for us who endure their sterilized tandrums. Some folks get diabetes or T.D. from the wonder drugs. Hard to tell. To weigh the good against the bad. For some folks with frucked neurology, the drugs are very very necessary. For the rest-- bright shiny pills with their empty promises of happiness. It's not happiness that the world needs now. And it's not love. And it's not bunches of parents coming out with bright shiny videos about how we have frucked up the family finances and broken their hearts. If only there was a cure for ignorance. For all of our shiny packaged advancements, we still can't figure out how to live together on this planet without blowing each other up into smithereens.

From grappling with tough stuff to neuropathy and smart bombs.

We need more research. More development. Psych drugs with better profiles, less side effects. The same care taken for psych drugs in clinical trials as is taken for all the others. The same attention to what is judged acceptable when it comes to side effects. What male teenager will greedily suck up any medicine that has "not being able to get it up" as a side effect? Only the truly insane. In the space provided below, list all of the non-psychotropics which have impotence as a side effect that we routinely administer to teens and young adults. Shrinks, first do no harm. Parents, saltpeter calms down raging hormones. Are you insane? We need to stop the guesswork. We all deserve more than that. Genetics, genomes. That is where the future of medicine lies. And once the neuro patients make room in the waiting room for the "psych" patients, we all might be better off. The N.A.M.I. mommies are WRONG. The vast preponderance of their kids do not need to be drugged. We are all wrong. Everything is neurology. Too bad the neurologists can't diagnose worth a damn.

Don't despair, repair.

My friends-locked Live Journal post about the so-called war on Christmas got flagged. Someone decided that my take on the news was an adult concept. Teens should be shielded from grappling with something that was freely available on Google news. Oh for crying out loud! I changed it back just before I put all entries save for this week's into private lockdown. SUP sanitizes the site, Aggregated feeds with advertisements and sponsored content pop into reality on the browser because sometimes we are oh so bored. We need entertainment. We are all excited now as we skate over to Explore Live Urinal. Uh, no thanks. Go sanitize your own toilet. The essay on the so-called war on Christmas can be found on other journal sites where the religious reich hasn't taken over.

I could have been great. Instead I am reduced to dead black words. I too piss on your dog houses.