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Mad in America: Science News

Author: Mad in America

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A monthly summary of newly published research findings in psychiatry, psychology and mental health. Presented by Mad in America's Peter Simons.
30 Episodes
In this 30-minute podcast, Peter Simons reports on the latest scientific articles in psychiatry. The goal is to provide more detail than is usually found in conventional research news and to help listeners understand how to interpret the findings. This month, Peter Simons covers in detail a new systematic review that debunks the widely popularized myth of low serotonin in depression, the “chemical imbalance theory.” He then follows up with a study that found less than 25% of people respond to depression treatment in real life, and a study that found that screening for depression in adolescents is ineffective. No Evidence Low Serotonin Causes Depression Response to Criticism of Our Serotonin Paper Less Than a Quarter of Those with Depression Respond to Treatment in Real Life Psychiatric Drugs Do Not Improve Disease or Reduce Mortality Screening for Depression in Adolescents Does Not Prevent Hospitalizations or Suicide Attempts
In this 30-minute podcast, Peter Simons reports on the latest scientific articles in psychiatry. The goal is to provide more detail than is usually found in conventional research news and to help listeners understand how to interpret the findings. Articles covered in this podcast include: How the mental health app Cerebral is facing accusations of dangerous and unethical practices; How Biogen withdrew its European application for failed Alzheimer’s drug aducanumab; How pharma company Cassava was the subject of a New York Times exposé on its Alzheimer’s research and outcome data; How social media influencers are the new pharma marketers; Researchers document how psychiatric textbooks and reviews endorsed the chemical imbalance myth; A study finding that antidepressants don’t improve quality of life; A study on antidepressants’ dangerous effects on the fetus if taken during pregnancy; A paper explaining the difference between antidepressant withdrawal and relapse; A paper on the dangers of benzodiazepine withdrawal; A study finding that a sense of meaningfulness in life protects against mental distress; and A paper by Joanna Moncrieff on the ties between the commodified mental health system and neoliberal capitalism.
In this 30-minute podcast, Peter Simons reports on the latest scientific articles in psychiatry. The goal is to provide more detail than is usually found in conventional research news and to help listeners understand how to interpret the findings. Articles covered in this podcast include: Researchers write that “psychology is fundamentally incompatible with hypothesis-driven theoretical science”; Researchers suggest that “evidence-based medicine” is more corporate gimmick than reliable science; Psychiatrists deliver the lowest-quality healthcare of any medical specialty; A report by the Council of Europe promotes non-coercive mental health treatment; Black patients in the US were more than twice as likely to be described negatively in electronic health records; A peer-supported Open Dialogue program shows early success in the UK; Antipsychotics are often prescribed without informed consent; Antidepressants are ineffective for children and adolescents; Psychiatric drugs increase dementia risk threefold after COVID in 65+ population; and Official guidelines on antidepressant discontinuation fail practitioners and patients.  
Peter Simons covers a study in Nature finding that the positive results of psychiatry’s brain imaging studies are false; a study demonstrating that more than half of negative antidepressant trials remain unpublished or are misleadingly “spun” as positive; an article that may explain why some people don’t find meditation to be helpful; and more! Nature: Brain Imaging Studies Are Most Likely False Negative Antidepressant Trials Still Unlikely to Be Published Did Pharma Companies Hide Failed ADHD Drug Studies From Regulators? Study Discovers Extensive Undisclosed Conflicts of Interest in Medical Research Esketamine: Dangers and Lingering Questions Antipsychotics Worsen Cognitive Functioning in First-Episode Psychosis Your Mindset Matters When You Meditate
Peter Simons covers a study that found both therapy and medication to have very limited effectiveness; an article suggesting that general practitioners need to prescribe fewer antidepressants; a study that concluded no brain imaging test has been able to identify a meaningful brain difference in depression; and more! Major Review Finds Limited Effectiveness for Medication and Therapy Family Physicians Must Change Antidepressant Prescribing Practices SSRI Antidepressants Do Not Improve Depression After a Stroke Clinicians and Patients Often Disagree on Mental Health Outcomes No Meaningful Brain Differences in Depression Shifting Away from ECT and Antidepressants for Depression
Peter Simons covers a clinical trial that found lithium ineffective at preventing suicide attempts, an essay by Allen Frances on the overdiagnosis of depression and overprescription of antidepressants, a review of the ineffectiveness and dangers of antidepressants, and an analysis that revealed that esketamine failed five of its six clinical trials. Lithium No Better Than Placebo for Preventing Suicide Attempts New Review: Antidepressants Come with Minimal Benefits, Several Risks Allen Frances Takes on the Over-Prescription of Antidepressants Esketamine Failed in Five of its Six Efficacy Trials Ketamine Withdrawal Has Severe Consequences New Study of Ayahuasca Users Shows Placebo Effect in Action  
Peter Simons covers articles about the validity of psychiatric diagnoses, the medicalization of normal human experiences like grief, and how the pharmaceutical industry co-opts feminist messaging to gain approval for ineffective drugs. Kenneth Kendler: “Implausible” That Psychiatric Diagnoses Even “Approximately True” Neurobiological Explanations Can Foreclose Self-Understanding Medicalizing Grief May Threaten Our Ability to Mourn Research Reveals Mental Health Professionals’ Participation in Rape Culture Why the FDA Approved Ineffective Drugs for Low Sexual Desire in Women Overuse of Psychiatric Drugs is Worsening Public Mental Health, Doctor Argues
This week, Peter Simons covers a study about the controversial practice of placebo run-in periods in antidepressant studies, a study about withdrawal symptoms being mistaken for relapse, and a book chapter that addresses stigma and discrimination. Researchers Push to End Placebo Run-in Periods in Antidepressant Studies Withdrawal Symptoms Cloud Findings of Antidepressant “Relapse” Trial Experiences of Prejudice and Discrimination in Mental Healthcare
This week, Peter Simons covers studies examining whether mental health literacy and essentialist thinking are associated with stigma against those with mental health problems. He also covers a study finding that psychotherapy is ineffective for the majority of children with depression. Mental Health Literacy Does Not Reduce Stigma, Psychosocial Approaches More Promising Essentialist Thinking May Drive Stigma Against People Diagnosed with Schizophrenia Meta-analysis of Psychotherapy in Children Finds Lackluster Long Term Results
This week, Peter Simons covers a study that found prolactin-increasing antipsychotics associated with increased breast cancer risk, an analysis that found no convincing evidence that screening for depression improves outcomes, and the continuing controversy around the FDA's approval of Biogen's failed Alzheimer's drug aducanumab. Antipsychotics Linked to Increased Breast Cancer Risk Screening for Depression in Primary Care Does Not Improve Outcomes Alzheimer’s Drug Controversy Continues
This week, Peter Simons covers studies on the biological mechanism behind antipsychotic drugs' association with dementia; surprising brain imaging findings with implications for antidepressant effectiveness; bias in the psychotherapy literature; and the trauma caused by involuntary treatment of people with psychosis. Antipsychotics Increase Risk of Dementia; New Research Illuminates Why Antidepressant Effects on Serotonin Plateau at the Minimum Recommended Dose Selective Reporting Inflates Effectiveness for Psychotherapy Depression Treatments Psychosis Associated with Childhood and Health Care-Related Traumas
This week, Peter Simons covers three studies about financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry in editorial and commentary writers in medical journals. These conflicts of interest create biased research literature that helps pharma push potentially harmful and less effective drugs.   Conflicts of Interest Linked to“Unduly Favorable” Editorials Conflicts of Interest in Medical Commentaries Undermine Credibility of Major Journals How Pharma Pushes New, Less Effective Drugs on the Market
This week, Peter Simons covers two articles about the pharmaceutical industry's influence on drug regulators, and an article finding that newborn babies experience antidepressant withdrawal if their mothers took SSRIs while pregnant. 75% of Pharma Companies Fail Basic Transparency Measures How to Address the Undermining of Drug Regulators by Pharma Newborn Babies Go Through Antidepressant Withdrawal
This week, Peter Simons covers three new articles which suggest that “relapse” in the drug trials for both antidepressants and antipsychotics is likely caused by sudden withdrawal. This contradicts the notion that the drugs have protective effects against relapse. “Relapse” in Antidepressant Trials Likely Caused by Sudden Withdrawal Sudden Antipsychotic Withdrawal—Not Low Dose—Leads to Relapse Tapered Antipsychotic Withdrawal Mitigates Risk of Psychotic Symptoms
This week, Peter Simons covers a BMJ investigation that found the FDA's "accelerated approval" process has left ineffective drugs on the market, some for more than 20 years, without follow-up studies to demonstrate efficacy. He also covers further developments in the FDA and Biogen controversy around Alzheimer's drug aducanumab (Aduhelm). FDA’s “Accelerated Approval” Process Leaves Ineffective Drugs on the Market Do we all have Alzheimer’s? Drug makers might want you to think so Biogen pulled Aduhelm paper after JAMA demanded edits Acting FDA Chief Janet Woodcock Ruled Out as Biden Nominee Sage Therapeutics axes 2 zuranolone trials deemed unnecessary for approval in depression
This week, Peter Simons covers a BMJ story that concluded 20% of health research is fraudulent, as well as a Lancet Psychiatry piece that critiques the research on long-acting injectable antipsychotics and debunks the claim that they are better than regular oral antipsychotics. BMJ: 20% of Health Research Is Fraudulent Researchers Debate Benefits of Long-Acting Injectable Antipsychotics  
This week, Peter Simons covers two articles in which researchers critique the medical model of psychiatry and propose alternatives. Researchers Critique the Medical Model, Propose an Alternative Medical Sociologist Details the Failures of American Psychiatry
This week, Peter Simons provides an update on the FDA's controversial approval of Alzheimer's drug aducanumab, a new guideline for psychoeducation about ADHD, a study linking poverty rates and youth suicide, and an article providing essential information about antidepressant withdrawal. Federal Investigation into FDA Approval of Alzheimer’s Drug Guideline for Education about ADHD Poverty Rates in US Counties Predict Youth Suicide Risk Four Essential Studies on Antidepressant Withdrawal Every Prescriber Must Read
This week, Peter Simons covers an article from a trauma survivor who describes the harms of screening, an article that found no genetic links to suicide risk, and an article that found animals were far better than humans at supporting grieving people. A Trauma Survivor Explains the Harms of Screening Study Finds No Genetic Correlations with Suicide Risk Pets More Effective for Grief Support than Humans, Study Finds
This week, Peter Simons covers the latest news on the FDA's approval of failed Alzheimer's drug aducanumab, against the recommendation of its own advisory committee, which led to three members of the committee resigning in protest. He also covers an article confirming yet again that the FDA's black box warning that antidepressants can cause suicide did not increase suicides. Finally, he covers a study that reveals what exactly service users value about hearing voices groups, and why they are so important. FDA Approves Failed Drug Against Advisory Committee Recommendation No, the FDA’s Black Box Warning Did Not Increase Suicides Qualitative Study Highlights the Meaning and Impact of Hearing Voices Groups
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