Genetic Testing for Selection of Psychotropic Medications

GeneSight is a blood test to determine which neuropsychiatric medications are indicated for an individual based on genetic analysis. The test is expensive and not likely to be helpful for most patients. Patients who suffer from major depression and other neuropsychiatric conditions usually improve with medication, but about half of patients fail to respond to

Who Is Amy B. Scher?

Amy B. Scher is a proponent of energy medicine and things like astrology and homeopathy. She claims to be a “science geek,” but how could anyone who understands science think that tapping on the breastbone will fix the thymus? Is the thymus the master gland for the immune system and connected to the entire energy

Self Esteem Is Overrated

Most people believe that fostering self-esteem in children will have many benefits, from happiness to better school performance, but that belief is not supported by the evidence. We are encouraged to reward children and not punish them, to praise them not only for real accomplishments but also for trivial successes and even failures (“everybody’s a

The Debate Is Over: Antidepressants DO Work Better Than Placebo

  Depression can kill. Antidepressants can help. A meme that continues to appear regularly in the media and in the comments section of this blog is “antidepressants are no better than placebo.” It is a false belief based on a faulty interpretation of the evidence. A new study has just come out that should put

The CAMphora: Health in a Jar

Amazon.com sells a lot of other stuff besides books. One of its most intriguing offerings is the SweatEvaporating / Sauna / HealthyUrn / NanoAnion / NegativeIon / FarInfraredRay / Hyperthermia / Fumigate / PulseMagneticField / PurpleClay / Underglaze Pastel And Yellow-glazed—Lotus Out Of Clear Water. I am not making this up. I will quote the

Depression Re-examined: A New Way to Look at an Old Puzzle

Depression affects approximately 10% of Americans. It can be fatal; I found estimates of suicide rates ranging from 2-15% of patients with major depression. When it doesn’t kill, it impairs functioning and can make life almost unbearably miserable. It is a frustrating condition because there is no lab test to diagnose it, no good explanation

AAFP CME Program Succumbs to “Integrative Medicine”

For many years I have been using Continuing Medical Education (CME) programs offered by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). The FP Essentials program consists of a monthly monograph with a post-test that can be submitted electronically for 5 hours of CME credit. Over a 9-year cycle, a complete family medicine curriculum is covered

Don’t Be Depressed About Depression Treatment

Bruce Levine’s article in the latest issue of Skeptic Vol. 17, No. 2: “Depression Treatment: What Works and How We Know” (pp. 23–27) paints a bleak view of depression treatment. He destroys all options except for the patient to congratulate himself on his critical thinking skills and to find something he can believe in. I

Steven Fowkes (Part 2 of 2): Nutrients for Better Mental Performance

Last week, in part 1, I covered Steven Fowkes’ “cures” for Alzheimer’s and herpes. In part 2, I will cover a video where he goes further afield. It is titled “Nutrients for Better Mental Performance,” but he also discusses sleep, depression, hangovers, and a lot of other topics. Some of what he says are simple

Angell’s Review of Psychiatry

Marcia Angell has written a two-part article for The New York Review of Books: “The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Why?” and “The Illusions of Psychiatry.” It is a favorable review of 3 recent books: The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth by Irving Kirsch Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the

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