Archive for March, 2008

TeenScreen

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

In order to understand what is driving the push to “identify” teen-agers with suicidal tendencies, it is helpful to look at a little history. First, let’s ask the question: What diseases were the top killers of American 100 years ago; and what are the top killers now?

The US Mortality Data for 1908 show that these diseases were America’s top-ranked killers:

Typhoid fever, measles, scarlet fever, whooping cough, diphtheria, and tuberculosis

The top-ranked kilers of Americans in 2004 were:

Heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases, accidents, and diabetes

It is important to understand how these two groups of diseases differ from each other: the first group is made up entirely of infectious diseases; the second group is composed entirely of diseases brought on by lifestyle: diet, smoking, lack of exercise, etc.

 Now, what has this got to do with TeenScreen?  (to be continued)

Pristiq

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

On Saturday, March 1, 2008 the Business Day section of the New York Times featured FDA’s approval of this new antidepressant. It is interesting that there is no attempt to hide what is really going on here: Wyeth Pharmaceuticals’ patent on Effexor XR is about to expire and, to maintain the company’s profit picture, another drug is needed. While details are still scanty, it is likely that Pristiq (where on earth do they get these names?) will be no more effective than other antidepressants–that is, barely if at all more effective (whatever that means) than a placebo. In other words, it is not patients’ health and well-being that is the goal; it is corporate profits.

It is a fair bet that Pristiq has not been tested “head-to-head” against other antidepressants manufactured by other drug companies. We can also be sure that the FDA approved Pristiq based on a length of treatment far shorter than it will actually be prescribed for. Remember that the FDA approved Prozac on the basis of only 6 weeks’ testing. (The logic was, I believe, that, if any adverse “side-effects” were going to show up, they’d show up sooner rather than later!)

It is probably also a safe bet that the experimental design was tampered with to exclude “non-responders,” and that physicians were paid handsomely for recruiting patients into the pre-approval studies. 

 

Interview on National Public Radio

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

Please check out my interview on NPR, February 15, 2008. We talked about family black sheep. The website is weekendamerica.org