Jun 07 2013

Error in the Development of Brain Circuits

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164 responses so far

164 Responses to “Error in the Development of Brain Circuits”

  1. shalliton 07 Jun 2013 at 9:02 am

    You gotta be crazy to claim that there is no such thing as mental illness.

  2. Kawarthajonon 07 Jun 2013 at 10:04 am

    I’m totally unqualified to understand whether this research is legit or valid, but there was a study comparing OCD in humans and dogs (actually, canine compulsive disorder), which found the same brain region is affected (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130604093830.htm).

    Would this not suggest that there is concrete evidence for mental illness, if it can be cross species? If this study was done well and the conclusions are reasonable, it would seem to be pretty strong evidence that mental illness is legit as a problem of brain functioning, and not just a cultural/political phenomenon made up by power hungry pharmaceutical companies and greedy doctors in a world-wide conspiracy.

  3. DavidCTon 07 Jun 2013 at 10:11 am

    It is possible to eliminate the idea of “mental illness” by defining it out of existence. As with the idea of solipsism it only leads to semantic games. It does nothing to help people whose “normal” is so far out on the bell curve that their lives are degraded.

    Thank you for sharing these new discoveries. While knowing more about how nature works may not lead to immediate benefits, not knowing almost never does. It is interesting that so many humans when presented with something new will quickly think of how it might be manipulated to an advantage. In spite of many dead ends, innovation keeps happening.

  4. Ori Vandewalleon 07 Jun 2013 at 10:23 am

    Wow, I am completely shocked that “scientist” Samie Jaffrey brazenly admitted to the political bias of his “research.” So now your brain is “faulty” and “incorrect” if it goes right instead of left? Next he’ll tell us that capitalism is a “mental illness.” Despicable.

  5. Sherringtonon 07 Jun 2013 at 3:18 pm

    One aspect I do not understand about this is that during development, chemical gradients (on the target cells, for example) play a major role in guiding the growth cone. How does the RNA activity interact with these chemicals? Is is the case that the RNA does the more general “steering” and the chemicals are more responsible once the growth cone is in the vicinity of the target?

  6. cannotsay2013on 07 Jun 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Steven,

    Is this post a first of a series in “reckoning” that you have been publishing nonsense for a while now, such as http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/responding-to-a-szaszian/ ?

    “ADHD is demonstrably a brain disorder and fits well into our current models of brain function, specifically the role of executive function in guiding our attention and behavior. It is also clearly more than that, and so further research is ongoing.”

    Please spare us from a slow, “new evidence”, “I didn’t know that X had said that” type of slow coming out. Just admit bluntly that you too had believed psychiatry’s lies. There is nothing wrong with admitting that you had been fooled. You have a great following and could be part of the solution to the psychiatric nonsense. Psychiatry deserves to go to the ash heap of history for all the unnecessary suffering that it has caused, and continues to cause http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2013/05/29/charges-revived-against-detroit-mom-in-standoff/ ).

    As long as you defend psychiatry, you are intellectually complicit with its crimes.

  7. Steven Novellaon 07 Jun 2013 at 4:01 pm

    My blog frequently covers neuroscience. This post is no different than the many posts I have written on the topic. That you see some sort of “coming out” in this is simply more evidence that you are a zealot with significantly muddied thinking in this area.

    This post has nothing to do with ADHD, and in no way contradicts what I have previously written on the subject. But it’s very telling that you see the slow advance of science as somehow evidence of falsehood – again, very typical denialist thinking.

  8. rezistnzisfutlon 07 Jun 2013 at 4:10 pm

    Again, CS is a denialist troll who will likely never waver in his ideological stance and is simply distracting from otherwise meaningful discourse of the actual science. All anyone is doing in engaging him is feeding the troll, and it seems clear that he is getting off on the attention. He is not worth the electrons, much less the effort put into thoughtfully constructing bytes of information into cohesive passages.

    People have already tried pretty much everything to bring reason to him, to no avail. I don’t see that there’s any more unturned stones anyone is going to find that’s going to do the trick. His kind of hardline, implacable stance is always going to be at odds with science, and it’s very clear he chooses not to understand the science, so it’s really not worth wasting any more time on him. The best way to make a troll go away is to ignore them, don’t give them the attention they desire.

  9. steve12on 07 Jun 2013 at 4:53 pm

    “As long as you defend psychiatry, you are intellectually complicit with its crimes.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-23kmhc3P8U

  10. steve12on 07 Jun 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Completely agree rezistnzisfutl, even if I am the biggest offender.

    I just coudn’t resist that last post.

  11. rezistnzisfutlon 07 Jun 2013 at 5:17 pm

    @Steve12

    It’s no big deal to do what you did. It’s been done here before. It’s clear from his statement here that he hasn’t, and won’t, budge on his position, and judging from the sheer number of posts and the inanity of many of them, as well as the tactics common with trolls, it’s a solid conclusion that he is one. I understand that it’s easy to get sucked in, especially when it appears that they offer easy pickings with their low-hanging fruits of factual errors and logical fallacies. The thing is, that he’s completely unwilling to budge on anything, in spite of direct evidence to the contrary, and he’s made it clear that nothing will convince him otherwise, it’s ideology we’re dealing with, not good science or even reasoned arguments.

    Every field of science has its detractors and legitimate criticisms. Every human endeavor has their downfalls and shortcomings. It’s one thing to debate the actual shortcomings and flaws of psychiatry, which should be welcomed conversation, and another to flat out deny settled science. Let the troll dry up on their little vine instead of watering him with all the unwarranted attention.

  12. cannotsay2013on 07 Jun 2013 at 10:36 pm

    Steven Novella,

    The statement (emphasis mine),

    “ADHD is DEMONSTRABLY a brain disorder and fits well into our current models of brain function, specifically the role of executive function in guiding our attention and behavior. It is also clearly more than that, and so further research is ongoing.”

    No Novella, nobody has yet DEMONSTRATED that ADHD is nothing more than a label given by DSM committee members to a pattern of behavior (which in addition has a creepy kappa reliability measure of 0.6 in DSM-5).

    Is so called “skeptic dogma”, which contradicts something like this,

    “It does not seem reasonable to argue that any and all patterns of neuronal wiring should be considered healthy and functional, just all part of normal human variation. At the same time I don’t think we should have a narrow concept of what is healthy human brain wiring. I understand the concept of “neurotypical” – there is a great deal of human variation and we should not automatically label anything 2 standard deviations from the median of the Bell curve as “abnormal.””.

    Then you come up with canards like that “continuum fallacy” which is a strawman. And besides, who is going to decide whether 2 or 3 standard deviations should be considered normal. You? Maybe Harvard psychiatrist Joseph Biederman? What about Martin Keller? Perhaps Johnson & Johnson or GSK?

    This post, I predict, is a starting point in a process in which you are going to try to find a way out of a lot of nonsense that you have repeated over the years, in which you’ll come to accept what Insel and Kupfer have already accepted: there are no bio markers for so called “mental illness”, only statistical nonsense of the type that shows that fishes respond to human stimulus, or that decreasing the usage of Internet Explorer could decrease crime US wide.

    rezistnzisfutl,

    steve12 got his arguments destroyed by other posters who otherwise are sympathetic to the idea that “some time”, “maybe in the future”, biomarkers will be found for so called “mental illness”, whatever that is.

    In fact, what the other thread on the Genetics of Mental Illness, which surely was a response to the crisis in psychiatry -the most important since the Rosenhan experiment- initiated by Tom Insel showed is that only the most recalcitrant so called “skeptics” still maintain things such as “ADHD is DEMONSTRABLY a brain disorder”. Most reasonable skeptics now agree that ADHD is a label created by DSM committee members. And why do they agree to that? Because both Insel (the director of the NIMH) and Kupfer (chairman of the DSM-5 task force) agree with that as well, even though the disagree on whether “mental illness” is real beyond a metaphor.

    You can scratch your backs as much as you want, but by doing so you are just digging even deeper in the hole you currently are :D .

  13. ProSubzeroon 07 Jun 2013 at 10:42 pm

    That is certainly an interesting and convincing mechanism in the Cell paper.However, I’m surprised they don’t reference miRNA/siRNAs.

    If the guidance of growth is controlled via controlled RNA expression and degradation, miRNA and siRNAs make all the sense in the world for regulation. To me at least. And there is plenty of work out there about how they work.

    They bind to target RNAs very specifically and either degrade them or just inhibit protein expression and keep the RNA intact. And it can be reversible. Very elegant process in my opinion.

    I see some work is being done with these. In reality it is probably a whole bunch of mechanisms at play. Interactions with genes and RNAs never seem to have 1 for 1 effects. It seems like there are a cloud of things that descend on a gene to regulate it.

  14. Mlemaon 08 Jun 2013 at 12:27 am

    “Some patterns of wiring are demonstrably dysfunctional, resulting in self-mutilation, refractory seizures, or severe mental retardation, for example.”

    This is the crux of the problem with the skeptical viewpoint on mental illness as represented by Dr Novella.
    Are these problems all brain problems?

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/self-injury/DS00775/DSECTION=causes
    Psychologists have recognized that the social and psychological environment, combined with a lack of coping mechanisms and an inability to change the detrimental environment, will conspire to cause a person to self-mutilate. Even more complicated behaviors like multiple personality disorder (which now has a new name I don’t remember) is rooted in severe psychological trauma like ritualistic sexual abuse. Disorders like OCD, ADHD, depression, anxiety can likewise be seen as normal responses to unhealthy, negative experiences that are both physical and emotional/psychological in nature. Sometimes they can even be seen as cultural judgements on the appropriateness of a behavior. But you’ll note that when a disorder has an associated drug treatment, we tend to find that it runs in families and has brain correlates :)

    Human behavior and thought are largely responses to the physical and emotional environment. Other animals subjected to some of the same stressors that cause mental disorder in humans will develop similar behavioral disorders. For instance, captive parrots are also prone to self-mutilate under adverse emotional/mental conditions.

    Does this mean that we shouldn’t try to sort out painful from pleasurable and try to help those in pain? No! But why are we denying the role of the psychological environment in so-called mental illness?
    Is it really helpful to a depressed person to say he has a mental disorder? Are we really believing that more than 1 in 4 in the US has a mental disorder? What is the reason women are depressed 2x more than men?
    We need to differentiate between those problems that should be addressed with medical care, and those that should be addressed with non-medical therapies, AND those that should be addressed by changing our society so that fewer people find themselves in situations that would make anyone “mentally ill”.

    It’s not scientific to try to equate all mental/behavioral problems to brain circuit error.

  15. BillyJoe7on 08 Jun 2013 at 2:28 am

    I must repeat.
    There’s no mental illness.
    I must repeat.
    There is no mental illness.
    I must repeat.
    I must repeat.
    I must repeat.
    There is no mental illness.
    I must repeat.
    There’s no mental illness.
    There is no mental illness.
    I must, I must, I must repeat.
    There is no mental illness.
    No mental illness.
    No mental illness.
    No mental illness.

  16. BillyJoe7on 08 Jun 2013 at 2:31 am

    “It’s not scientific to try to equate all mental/behavioral problems to brain circuit error”

    And no one has said so.

  17. Mlemaon 08 Jun 2013 at 2:51 am

    sorry BJ, I should have said:
    “…brain circuit errors, chemical imbalances, genetics, or neurodevelopmental problems.”

  18. steve12on 08 Jun 2013 at 4:39 am

    “But why are we denying the role of the psychological environment in so-called mental illness?”

    No one’s said anything of the sort. The only denial that has gone on is the role of bioogy, and most of that has been from the same person who’s shown beyond all reasonable doubt that he’s a political zealot.

    I agree that much of the DSM (especially some of what I’ve read about the latest one) is problematic. Of the symptomological clusters that map onto clearly real underlying brain disorders like the psychoses, though, there’s clearly a complex iterative interplay of gene expression + feedback from the environment.

    No one’s denied this.

  19. cannotsay2013on 08 Jun 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Mlema,

    “It’s not scientific to try to equate all mental/behavioral problems to brain circuit error,chemical imbalances, genetics, or neurodevelopmental problems”

    You nailed it. And the dogmatic way in which Novella (although now he seems to be trying to find a way out to his nonsense) and his followers defend this has real life implications, because if you believe that, then of course you are going to suggest lobotomy, insulin therapy, ECT and drugging as the “treatments of choice” and take people to court, like the woman above, who refuse to treat their children with these “treatments of choice”.

    Now, what I still do not understand, and I have not been provided a valid reason for, is the refusal by this community to acknowledge, that “the mind” is a perfect abstraction to deal with these issues.

    Claiming that there is an abstraction called “the mind” (ie, software) does not in anyway undermine the rest of the skeptic agenda. After all, these skeptics already believe that OUT OF NOTHING the universe came into being with the laws of nature (gravity, quantum mechanics, etc) and a very powerful randomized algorithm (which is still an algorithm) called “evolution by natural selection” that created us. All that, I insist, OUT OF NOTHING. Accepting the existence of the “mind” as the software that results from those processes seems very menial to me.

  20. Bruce Woodwardon 08 Jun 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Cannotsay2013, please keep your idiocy to the other thread.

    You are saying stupid things and it is really getting quite annoying. As you can see this blog is quite free and open and people here love a good debate, but there comes a point when you see someone’s post and just skip by hoping beyond hope that no one has responded to them in the thread being shit up for 50 to 100 posts.

    I have told you before, get help, stop spending all your time posting on internet forums, because it is not going to solve your problems. People with much more intellect and patience than me have taken the time to respond to you in a very fair manner, so I suggest you read through the 500 odd comments on the other thread and unless you have anything NEW to add to the conversation please just shut up… yes… SHUT UP.

    You will no doubt respond to this claiming some great victory of your “intellect” over us who are brainwashed or whatever, and I am happy that you believe that, but please, make that your last comment and then move on.

  21. cannotsay2013on 08 Jun 2013 at 1:03 pm

    “You will no doubt respond to this claiming some great victory of your “intellect” over us who are brainwashed or whatever, and I am happy that you believe that, but please, make that your last comment and then move on.”

    Of course! And your post provided the reason why I can claim victory. When you put forward such “brilliant” arguments as,

    - “You are saying stupid things and it is really getting quite annoying.”

    - “I have told you before, get help, stop spending all your time posting on internet forums, because it is not going to solve your problems.”

    - “People with much more intellect and patience than me have taken the time to respond to you in a very fair manner, so I suggest you read through the 500 odd comments on the other thread and unless you have anything NEW to add to the conversation please just shut up… yes… SHUT UP.”

    The latter point is significant, because the thread started with the typical “so called” skeptic attack, and ended with a very large agreement to the point that most, if not all, of DSM labels are nonsense, and one of your “best intellects” such as steve12 or Novella proposing as “evidence” studies of the kind that would validate that Internet Explorer is the cause of crime in the US or accepting that “medical science” is not truly science. I will repeat a point that I made there:

    - cannotsay2013′s notion of validity: that which established that HIV is the cause of AIDS, which is falsified this way http://www.aidstruth.org/denialism/dead_denialists . Or the notion of gravity that is tested/falsified 30000 times a day in the US alone (number of domestic flights). Or the physics behind quantum mechanics that make the LHC or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semiconductor_device possible. The latter power all current computers.

    - The Other John McCain, Novella, steve12′s, Bruce Woodward, etc notion of validity: dead fishes respond to human stimulus, Internet Explorer usage is the cause of crime in the US or Astrology is valid, as explained here using the data of the 1985 Nature study http://www.theoryofastrology.com/carlson/carlson.htm .

    I think it is pretty clear that one of us talks from a scientific point of view, while the other from a “pseudo scientific” (“semi scientific” in the words of David Brooks) point of view :D .

  22. Bruce Woodwardon 08 Jun 2013 at 1:06 pm

    Yes, you have won, we are all wrong, now please go away.

  23. steve12on 08 Jun 2013 at 1:32 pm

    Ya know Bruce, I just realized that I’ve been looking at this all wrong. CS is right – about everything.

    Sorry CS – hope you accept my apology….

  24. cannotsay2013on 08 Jun 2013 at 1:39 pm

    steve12,

    I know you mean that as a joke, but you have to at least admit that the way you have defended your nonsense has exposed you to ridicule :D because according to your concept of validity, Internet Explorer usage is the cause of murder in the US http://i.imgur.com/47D7zGq.png .

    When somebody doesn’t have anything smart to say it’s better to admit it . You could have said that “you believe” (as Insel does) that “some day”, “some time” bio makers will be found for so called “mental illness” -whatever that is.

    But since we are not there yet, by any stretch of the imagination (that pessimistic view is the one put forward by Kupfer), your aggressive defense of the validity of psychiatry only showed that your understanding of statistical inference is very, as in extremely, shallow and that you apply it dogmatically without understanding the nonsense that comes out of your propositions :D .

  25. hadronon 08 Jun 2013 at 2:07 pm

    WOO, WOO! Scientology alert! ;)

  26. cannotsay2013on 08 Jun 2013 at 3:02 pm

    hadron,

    WOW, WOW, red herring alert, I already said that I am not a Scientologist (I am a Christian though). Neither is any of the members of this community, http://www.madinamerica.com/ , made mostly of survivors of psychiatry and many psychiatrists who are critical with their own field.

    To you and to other “skeptic zealots”. Please, next time that you defend this quackery so blindly, in addition to understanding that you are doing it from “faith” not “science” think about the woman above that the state wants to criminally charge for refusing to have her daughter forcibly drugged or the many people here http://openparadigmproject.com/ whose lives were improved only after they sent psychiatry to hell .

    While it is unfortunate that for a long time the only organized opposition to psychiatry came from Scientology -unfortunate in the sense that so many people were blind to psychiatry’s evil- now it is not any more the case.

    Insel, Kupfer and Frances have made theirs points that previously were only made by Scientology. That is not to say that these there have validated ALL the criticism that comes from Scientology. However, they have validated their most important one: to this day, none of the DSM invented diseases have been shown to have a valid biological cause in the sense Alzheimer’s or Down Syndrome have. NONE, and that includes, Mr Novella, ADHD of which you said,

    “ADHD is demonstrably a brain disorder and fits well into our current models of brain function, specifically the role of executive function in guiding our attention and behavior. It is also clearly more than that, and so further research is ongoing.”

  27. cannotsay2013on 08 Jun 2013 at 3:10 pm

    BTW, and this is a point that I brought to the other thread, another tragedy that could have been probably prevented if forced drugging was not psychiatry’s treatment of choice -ie, the dogmatic position you guys have has real life consequences-,

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/08/us/california-college-gunman/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

    “A law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation told CNN on Saturday that the gunman had suffered mental health issues. A couple of years ago, he was hospitalized for treatment after allegedly talking about harming someone, according to the official.”

    “Treatment” in this day and age, means, of course, “drugging”, and with drugs known to increase risk of violent behavior in those taking them. Another dramatic incident to add to the long list of incidents that were caused by people whose brains had been altered prior to the shooting by psychiatric drugs,

    - Standard Gravure
    - Columbine
    - Virginia Tech
    - Aurora
    - Newtown
    - etc,

  28. hadronon 08 Jun 2013 at 3:42 pm

    Single white middle-class male libertarian MRA college drop-out conspiracy theorist? – am I getting close?

    Seriously though, I had a single bad experience with psychiatry about 15 years ago and I was of a similar idiom to yourself. Since then I’ve actually benefited massively from person centred counselling and SSRIs( despite a few false starts) and have since discovered that the problems I have go back over two generation of family and are certainly not caused primarily by exogenous events and circumstances (as you postulate) in my case. I feel that I lost many years unnecessarily to an endogenous condition which is now controlled to the point where I have a life and an academic career which was unimaginable before.

    I guess my point is that, while psychiatry (like all medicine) has a gruesome history and psychiatric diagnosis is still riddled with non-scientific modalities, (I don’t think anyone on this blog would disagree) you can’t write off the field as a whole and expect people to discuss the facts and evidence with you; claiming bias while hiding your beliefs in un-testable metaphysics.

  29. cannotsay2013on 08 Jun 2013 at 4:04 pm

    hadron,

    “Single white middle-class male libertarian MRA college drop-out conspiracy theorist? – am I getting close?”

    Not even close :D . PhD educated, in hard science (the type in which validity is established in the sense that the LHC is possible) upper middle-class, who hates conspiracy theories with a passion.

    Politics, yes, I have a libertarian streak, but I am more socially conservative than the average libertarian. I am a Rand Paul type of libertarian, but a bit more realistic when it comes to foreign policy and the value of the army.

    If you want a longer version, here http://www.madinamerica.com/2013/01/ny-times-invites-readers-to-a-dialogue-on-forced-treatment/#comment-19770 .

    Again, I have said many times that I have NO problem with people willingly using psychiatry’s services. NONE. I have the same position with respect to other pseudo scientific fields: astrology and homeopathy.

    SSRIs have helped you, great! I support you on that. They almost killed my kidneys and liver though. Besides, it’s probably more a placebo effect than anything (as soon as people start to feel the dry mouth they begin to notice “great effects” even though SSRIs have very slow action; they don’t increase the serotonin levels in the synapses until after several weeks of treatment).

    My only beef with psychiatry is its legally sanctioned status as a coercive force. Since this status has been achieved based on the lie that it has “scientific validity”, I am attacking said validity as a proxy to end coercive psychiatry. If psychiatry willingly gave up its coercive powers IN ALL CASES, I couldn’t care less what a bunch of self proclaimed “mind guardians” think about the “scientific” basis of their quackery (just as I don’t give a damn about what astrologers think about their art).

    “you can’t write off the field as a whole and expect people to discuss the facts and evidence with you; claiming bias while hiding your beliefs in un-testable metaphysics.”

    It goes both ways though. Medicine has gone long ways in the last 200 years, to the point that today psychiatry is the only so called “branch of medicine” which is solely built on pseudo scientific assumptions. At some point people have to say, enough is enough. Every 30-40 years psychiatry goes through a crisis in which its quackery/fad is shown to be patently false. Psychiatry’s reaction every time is to come up with a different scam and to make empty promises that proving that this time will be right is only “a few years around the corner”. Biological psychiatry was a reaction to the failure of Freudian psychiatry. Now that biological psychiatry has been shown to be a scam, they are promising “neuro science psychiatry” which again, will be a failure because with 86 billion neurons in the brain, you can find correlation to almost anything thing you want.

    At this crucial moment of history, instead of doing what is right, ie, to put psychiatry in the same company as other pseudo scientific endeavors, the defenders of psychiatry are doubling down their defense, being in the process intellectually complicity with the evil psychiatry continues to cause every day in the US and elsewhere :D .

  30. steve12on 08 Jun 2013 at 4:16 pm

    That is true, CS. Thank you.

  31. hadronon 08 Jun 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Are you saying that you regard all non-deterministic (probabilistic) sciences as bunkum? It’s a common thread amongst physicists in particular. I’d recommend reading Thomas Gilovich’s “How we know what isn’t so.” It shows how those in the ‘hard’ sciences tend to be less aware of their own cognitive biases. I guess cognitive biases don’t exist in your world?

  32. hadronon 08 Jun 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Just out of interes, what’s your Ph.D and where is it from. I understand the “health freedom” schtick but I think that belongs in a different forum. Don’t you?

  33. cannotsay2013on 08 Jun 2013 at 4:33 pm

    hadron,

    Not at all. What I am saying is that statistical inference is only valid is all they hypothesis that make it possible are satisfied (in other words, in the right context), otherwise you are putting a lot of nonsense forward (Charles Seife wrote a book about this, and gave a very entertaining talk about it at Google a few months ago http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiQwZ6inbOM ). I recommend the whole talk but the part that is relevant to this conversation starts around minute 28:00. There he shows that using the type of “criteria” that passes as “good” in life sciences you can establish statistical significance in,

    - Dead fishes that respond to human stimulus (this example got an Ig Noble prize http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/sep/21/ig-nobel-awards-dead-salmon )

    - A random experiment that shows that eating apples and bananas can be found with “statistical significance” to cause or prevent cancer

    The human brain has 86 billion neurons. There is no possible way to control for individual hypothesis with such a complex underlying structure.

    “I guess cognitive biases don’t exist in your world?”

    They do, but here is the big difference, in my world, we produce replicable results with high degree of numerical accuracy,

    - Planes fly

    - The Standard Model of particles predicts the Higgs boson and we build the hyper complex LHC to detect it. Anybody who dismisses the complexity that went on in building the LHC or the accuracy of its measurements (as psychiatrists regularly do) is in fact showing that they don’t have the slightest clue of what they are talking about.

    - Computers that have billions of individual devices (each of which is governed by quantum mechanics) that work as expected. They are programmed with very sophisticated layers of abstraction

    In other words, in my world we have quantitative verifiable falsifiable predictions while psychiatry only has pseudo scientific thinking. In my world, results speak for themselves. In psychiatry, the only thing that speaks for itself is the untold suffering its treatments have produced over the last couple of centuries (lobotomy, insulin therapy, ECT, drugging, etc, etc) in many cases forced into its victims.

  34. cannotsay2013on 08 Jun 2013 at 4:35 pm

    hadron,

    In order to keep my anonymity, I am not disclosing it. All I am willing to volunteer is that it is of physics/math kind and that I got it at one of America’s best universities, of the kind Novella works at now (although better than the one he got his MD from).

  35. hadronon 08 Jun 2013 at 4:51 pm

    Aww, bless you! I felt really bad for trolling you into revealing your bias. Now I just feel sorry for you having to pretend to be a scientist at a real uni!

    I like to think that if we met in a pub somewhere we’d have a good chat, but your worldview seems to be obfuscated by selfish ideology and you’d be just like every other pub-bore.

    I hope you find what you need to be happy and comfortable with yourself, but trolling scientists with propaganda you’ve seen on Scientology/CCHR videos just makes you look like a very silly person, indeed!

    Take care buddy.

  36. cannotsay2013on 08 Jun 2013 at 4:51 pm

    And to be more precise, here is an example of a fluke that those who do the type of science I work on did,

    http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2012/0223/CERN-researchers-find-flaw-in-faster-than-light-measurement

    But because it was a quantitative verifiable falsifiable prediction, it was indeed falsified. How do you falsify that DSM committee members think that being sad after two weeks of the death of a loved one is “depression” and it isn’t otherwise? Well, you don’t, that’s the whole problem with psychiatry, it makes non quantitative non falsifiable predictions. So there is no possible way it can be “a science”.

    The NIMH approach wants to move it at least to the “falsifiable predictions” camp, and that’s why I welcome it because at least those who think like me will be able to falsify it. It would be even better if they introduce “quantitative predictions” such as “having X concentration of neurons with characteristic Y is an accurate predictor of absence or presence of disorder Z”. Because that would allow people like me to falsify psychiatry very quickly. Tom Insel might be having second thoughts about the path in which he has put psychiatry in based on his most recent statements. He has not retracted his April 29th blog though.

  37. hadronon 08 Jun 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Cognitive dissonance in 3, 2…

  38. cannotsay2013on 08 Jun 2013 at 4:55 pm

    hadron,

    Another steve12 type of insulting troll? As I said, I am not going to disclose any more information to satisfy “skeptic trolls”, just put some arguments forward, and I will work them out.

    steve12 did that only to find out that many who are otherwise sympathetic to his position, understood that he was speaking nonsense.

    So if you want a repeat of what went on on the other thread, I am up to the challenge. However, before you do, make sure you read the 500+ comments in order to avoid the same type of fallacious arguments that steve12 and Novella have been putting forward http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/the-genetics-of-mental-illness/#comments . It can get very tiring to debunk strawmen like that “continuum fallacy canard” which only shows that those who introduce it don’t understand what they are talking about.

  39. hadronon 08 Jun 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Damn! Beat me to it! :)

  40. cannotsay2013on 08 Jun 2013 at 4:57 pm

    hadron,

    What is your education in? I can tell you that because I am so sure that I have that PhD, I will be able to debunk with very technical arguments any pseudo scientific argument that you put forward to defend psychiatry.

  41. steve12on 08 Jun 2013 at 5:01 pm

    “Another steve12 type of insulting troll? As I said, I am not going to disclose any more information to satisfy “skeptic trolls”, just put some arguments forward, and I will work them out.”

    But I’m on your side now! You have failed to convince every single scientist here that you are one – every single one except me, of course.

    “steve12 did that only to find out that many who are otherwise sympathetic to his position, understood that he was speaking nonsense.”

    Although I think that they all should have sided with you, they in fact sided with me. The old me, that is.

    Now I think that they’re wrong for having thought that I was right. Or something….

  42. cannotsay2013on 08 Jun 2013 at 5:06 pm

    steve12,

    I think that nobody with reputable credentials have agreed to the proposition that your A1/A2 B1/B2 example only shows that,

    a) people grouped according to any random criteria can be shown to have whatever biomarker in common you want (there are billions of base pairs in the human genome, of which several tens of thousands have been show to be synthesize proteins)

    b) sexual reproduction means that these biomarkers will be transmitted to the next generation

    But that is very different form your canard that there are “genetic biomarkers with predictive value for the DSM-IV definition of schizophrenia”

    Glad you keep your identity hidden, you might have lost your job if people know who you are, even if you have a tenured position. Scientific misconduct is one of the few accepted grounds for dismissal from tenured positions :D .

  43. cannotsay2013on 08 Jun 2013 at 5:07 pm

    typo,

    I meant,

    “I think that nobody with reputable credentials HAS agreed to anything OTHER THAN the proposition that your A1/A2 B1/B2 example only shows that,”

  44. steve12on 08 Jun 2013 at 5:09 pm

    “nobody with reputable credentials”

    You’re right!

    The only person I remember disagreeing with me was Sonic- who is not credentialed in any way (not that that should matter). Literally everyone else did – even though I’ve come to know that they were actually wrong.

    Just so I can now set them straight – who were the credentialed people who agreed with (old) me?

  45. Mad Vertexon 08 Jun 2013 at 5:14 pm

    cannotsay2013,
    > In order to keep my anonymity, I am not disclosing it. All I am willing to volunteer is that it is of physics/math kind and that I got it at one of America’s best universities, of the kind Novella works at now

    I’m a bit doubtful of that, your expertise in gish gallop is much above a meagre physics/math PhD…

  46. cannotsay2013on 08 Jun 2013 at 5:15 pm

    steve12,

    “Literally everyone else did”

    Yes like that old guy whose main argument against mine were that these things do not exist in reality while they exist in the brain,

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Field-programmable_gate_array

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Content-addressable_memory

    Well, what that guy showed is that he lost touch with the reality of the latest advances in computer hardware and software.

    Look, glad you keep your identity private. You’d be expelled from any reputable scientific institution that cares about having competent scientists.

    Even you caved in to the fact that “most of the DSM is nonsense”, something that you were not willing to admit not that long ago.

    From where I stand, I can of course claim victory, except for those who still stick to their dogmas regardless of what the top dogs in psychiatry (Insel, Kupfer, Frances) openly admit: there are no valid biomarkers for any of the DSM created labels, and that would include schizophrenia :D .

  47. cannotsay2013on 08 Jun 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Mad Vertex,

    As a victim of psychiatric abuse, I have lot of to lose if I disclose my identity. That is the reason I am so cautious about giving out too much info that would allow people to identify me. If you had been a victim of said abuse, you’d understand.

    As I said, the challenge is to counter my arguments, but please, before you do, go to that other thread and make sure you have something new that has not been already addressed :D .

  48. steve12on 08 Jun 2013 at 5:17 pm

    I love you, CS. I really mean that.

  49. hadronon 08 Jun 2013 at 5:18 pm

    I work in computer science but I also have a background in business and economics. I don’t have my Ph.D yet. My MSc thesis is available to read at my uni because it got an OK mark

    Generally, all Ph.D theses are publicaly available to read unless they are from unaccredited diploma-mills.

    Only someone just pretending to have a real doctorate would would make the frankly ludicrous claim that they can’t talk about it (it’s a conspiracy)!

  50. steve12on 08 Jun 2013 at 5:18 pm

    Who else could be completely undeterred by the fact that literally no one agrees with anything they have to say.

    Except me, of course.

  51. steve12on 08 Jun 2013 at 5:19 pm

    must….stop…..feeding….troll……

  52. steve12on 08 Jun 2013 at 5:20 pm

    “Only someone just pretending to have a real doctorate would would make the frankly ludicrous claim that they can’t talk about it (it’s a conspiracy)!”

    How dare you!

  53. cannotsay2013on 08 Jun 2013 at 5:23 pm

    hadron,

    Of course my PhD thesis is publicly available! What I said is that I don’t want people to know who I am because my status as victim of psychiatry would make me the target of even more abuse. That’s why we have the HIPPA laws.

    “Only someone just pretending to have a real doctorate would would make the frankly ludicrous claim that they can’t talk about it (it’s a conspiracy)!”

    No conspiracy. Psychiatric labeling is for life. It follows you where eve you go,

    - Jobs
    - Security clearances
    - etc, etc

    My current employer is unaware of what happened and I want it to continue that way. You, as a user of psychiatric services, should now better.

  54. hadronon 08 Jun 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Gish gallop is right. Like a true crank CS is never wrong, even when he is.

    I’d bet folding money he won’t apologise for lying about his credentials.

  55. cannotsay2013on 08 Jun 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Example of legally sanctioned bullying thanks to the DSM,

    http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/nycode/MHY/A/1/1.03 ,

    ” 52. “Persons with serious mental illness” means individuals who meet
    criteria established by the commissioner of mental health, which shall
    include persons who are in psychiatric crisis, or persons who have a
    designated diagnosis of mental illness under the most recent edition of
    the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and whose
    severity and duration of mental illness results in substantial
    functional disability.”

    Note that DSM-5 has made that bullying applicable to more people.

  56. cannotsay2013on 08 Jun 2013 at 5:29 pm

    hadron,

    “I’d bet folding money he won’t apologise for lying about his credentials.”

    Because guess what, I have not lied! What I can claim is to have refuted the “smartest”, “nonsensical” arguments put forward with the strongest “believers” here, “believers” as in “skeptic dogma believers” :D .

    BTW, you claim a MS in computer science, you’d agree that FPGAs and CAM are real, wouldn’t you? So the notion that self programmable devices and content addressable memory (that that old guy claimed to be unique features of the brain without parallel in current computers) can be falsified with these two, wouldn’t you?

  57. hadronon 08 Jun 2013 at 5:33 pm

    I love working with FPGAs, by the way. Using them as a model for mammalian brains doesn’t even come close.

    Your denialism seems to be pretty high level. You could almost be a physicist!
    ;)

  58. cannotsay2013on 08 Jun 2013 at 5:38 pm

    hadron,

    Strawman.

    I ask you to please read the other thread, really. The only reason I brought FPGAs into the discussion is because that old guy claimed that brain circuits can be “reconfigured” unlike say CPUs, to which I said, you obviously never heard of FPGAs as in http://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/research/technology-onepagers/self-reconfigurable.html , that’s all.

    That guy also claimed that content addressable memory was a unique feature of the brain, to which I said, OK, you probably missed what has happened on the matter in the last 15 years. That’s all.

    Next question?

  59. hadronon 08 Jun 2013 at 5:39 pm

    You think Jesus coded in c++?

  60. cannotsay2013on 08 Jun 2013 at 5:43 pm

    hadron,

    Mmm, not really. But he surely gave us the brains to come up not only with C++ but with its father, C, UNIX, MapReduce/Hadoop, multi threading programming, SMP systems, and many other layers of abstraction that are responsible of computers very complicated things even though CPUs do very basic stuff (additions, multiplications and moving data from/to registers to memory, or between memory addresses directly). We are past the time when human brains can compete with computers to do brute force computing. To claim, as Novella has, that this computer http://money.cnn.com/2013/06/06/technology/enterprise/fastest-supercomputer/index.html is “simple” in comparison with the brain is to speak from ignorance, really.

  61. cannotsay2013on 08 Jun 2013 at 5:49 pm

    hadron,

    Speaking of C++, which OOP extension of C do you prefer, C++ or Objective C? I definitely prefer C++. I find Objective C a bit creepy to be honest :D .

  62. hadronon 08 Jun 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Yeah, he was a cool guy, but I don’t think we can really draw parallels between computers and human thought. Computers are machines that abstract certain types of logic bound by the constraints of their physical parts; analog or digital they produce results which match objective reality. As is the intent of RCTs.

  63. hadronon 08 Jun 2013 at 6:06 pm

    I really don’t like objective C*. We generally use Java. Not my choice, it’s a uni thing. I try to stay language agnostic. I suppose it’s probably good to have a hard-typed language as standard in an academic setting.

    *(I’m not against developing for iOS, but I’ve been working with android for a few years now)

  64. cannotsay2013on 08 Jun 2013 at 6:09 pm

    hadron,

    Here was on of the points of contention that led to the discussion of FPGAs and CAM, since you have an MS in CS, I would assume that you can handle the argument :D .

    My contention is that the problems that psychiatry claim to deal with are not biological in nature, as in “hw” -like Alzheimer’s or Down Syndrome are-, they are software problems such as “memory leaks” and similar.

    With a genuine C++ memory leak, you can see HW correlates to the problem (RAM positions that were previously free, become occupied without the computer doing much). However, the memory leak is NOT a hw problem that can be solved by “adding more memory” or rebooting the system (many memory leaks only appear in specific circumstances that are difficult to replicate). To fix a memory leak, you fix the software issue.

    The mind of human beings, our “software”, is real. Whether you believe it comes from God or from millions of years of Darwinian evolution is irrelevant to the proposition that it is a useful abstraction to deal with mind issues. The notion that, as Mlema said above, of equating

    “all mental/behavioral problems to brain circuit error,chemical imbalances, genetics, or neurodevelopmental problems”

    Is 100% preposterous when a better model is warranted, such as the “mind is real” even though you cannot see it just as you cannot see “software” in a computer that runs it.

  65. cannotsay2013on 08 Jun 2013 at 6:11 pm

    Most of the programming I have done in my life has been in Java, C and C++. I personally prefer Java as well because it gets rid of all the memory management issues. But sometimes I do not have a choice. If you want your software to solve problems efficiently, there is no way to avoid C++.

    For quick prototyping, even for mathematical problems, Java is my preferred choice.

  66. hadronon 08 Jun 2013 at 6:14 pm

    Since you claim to have a Ph.D you should find it no problem to go and research the Dunning-Kreuger effect.

  67. cannotsay2013on 08 Jun 2013 at 6:17 pm

    hadron,

    The most important irony of the discussion I had with steve12 is that his examples were the poster example of the Dunning-Kreuger effect. He proposed something that was based on his faulty understanding of Bayesian statistics (or lack thereof). Where he saw a “stroke of genius”, those knowledgeable with the matter saw he proving beyond reasonable doubt that he is clueless about Bayesian statistics :D .

  68. Xplodyncowon 08 Jun 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Neurons send their long axons along distant paths to connect to target neurons.

    How long does this process take (I mean, months, days, seconds)? Also, in a fully developed brain, is this the same process by which new connections are formed?

  69. sonicon 08 Jun 2013 at 7:47 pm

    rezistnzisfutl, steve12, BJ7, Bruce et. al….

    I have a number of disagreements with cannotsay, but actually he has not been ‘unwilling to budge’ or stating ‘factual errors’ or ‘logical fallacies’.

    For example-
    He agreed that I might be right that there could be genetic and/or biomarkers for ‘mental illness’ in the future. In other words– he agreed that he might be wrong about this.

    He doesn’t think he’s wrong because he has been right for decades and the ‘powers that be’ have finally acknowledge that. I don’t see why he would trust that the answers are now forth coming when the same claim has been made year after year, decades on end. cry wolf? :-)

    Actually he is the one who understands what statistical analysis can and can’t do, as well. For example, it seems steve12 has some very odd ideas about what a statistical analysis can produce but cannotsay and I were the only ones trying to correct him. I’m assuming the others have similar misconceptions about what statistical analysis can show.

    When you see the reason that someone thinks cannotsay is wrong is based on a misunderstanding of statistical analysis, you might appreciate why cannotsay hasn’t budged on some things.

    I’m not sure calling him names that don’t fit helps all that much. Certainly ‘tu quoque’ isn’t the way to go– or BillyJoe7′s childish use of strawman.

  70. steve12on 08 Jun 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Hadron,

    you really should look at the last thread about genetics and mental illness. This entire conversation already took place between CS and me – from me calling BS about his credentials, to calling Dunning-Kruger, etc.

    CS even told me that psychiatry is worse than the Holocaust, and whimsically mused about rounding up and shooting all the psychiatrists. He is a zealot’s zealot.

    We really should give the ole’ boy a rest. And yes, I am a HUGE hypocrite for saying that…..

  71. steve12on 08 Jun 2013 at 8:39 pm

    “For example, it seems steve12 has some very odd ideas about what a statistical analysis can produce but cannotsay and I were the only ones trying to correct him. I’m assuming the others have similar misconceptions about what statistical analysis can show.”

    bullshit, Sonic. I know exactly how the statistics I talked about work, and I use them every day.

    Explain to me where I’m wrong?

  72. cannotsay2013on 08 Jun 2013 at 9:05 pm

    Sonic,

    Agreed.

    steve12,

    “bullshit, Sonic. I know exactly how the statistics I talked about work, and I use them every day.

    Explain to me where I’m wrong?”

    It has been explained to you many times over. You don’t understand it. This is where the Dunning-Kruger comes into play.

    You think you have a “sound understanding” of statistics when in fact you cannot even understand when it is explained to you that your inference does not work, ie, that there is a difference between what is going on in your example (which can be explained by Bayesian statistics because there is PRIOR KNOWLEDGE in your experiment) and what you claim, ie, that your experiment shows predictive ability of biomarkers for schizophrenia.

    I told you that you are only 600 pages away from understanding where your error is, http://www.amazon.com/Bayesian-Choice-Decision-Theoretic-Computational-Implementation/dp/0387715983 , but you refuse to consider even the possibility that you are mistaken because if you understood why you are mistaken, you would not have put the example to begin with as “evidence” that there are biomarkers for schizophrenia :D !

  73. steve12on 08 Jun 2013 at 9:11 pm

    Oh, I agree with you CS. 100%

  74. cannotsay2013on 08 Jun 2013 at 9:21 pm

    sonic12,

    As they say, AGAINST MY BETTER judgement, here comes my explanation fro the n-th time, this time with more technical comment.

    Select some random behavior X (like loving Gun and Roses) then divide people in 4 groups,

    - A1 People who love Gun and Roses (yours truly would be here)
    - A2 First order family members of A1

    - B1 People who hate Gun and Roses (yours truly would be here)
    - B2 First order family members of B1

    Find some biomarker that is common to A1 but uncommon to B1, call it X. Among billions of base pairs, I am sure you could find one, whichever X is.

    Because sexual reproduction works, the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conditional_probability that X is present in A2 is high, close to 1. Similarly, the conditional probablity that X is present in B2 low, is close to zero.

    Pick some random member from the union of B2 and A2, can you predict from looking at biomarker X whether that member is related to A1 vs B1 using X with high probability? Of course, you are just applying the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximum_a_posteriori_estimation (aka MAP) rule using the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prior_probability that X is present in members of A1 but absent in members of B1.

    Again, for the n-th time, this just shows that sexual reproduction passes biomarkers to the next generation and that the MAP rule works :D .

  75. cannotsay2013on 08 Jun 2013 at 9:22 pm

    Typo, obviously, yours truly WOULD NOT be in B1 :D .

  76. Bruce Woodwardon 08 Jun 2013 at 9:22 pm

    Sonic, I think you misunderstand my position, and possibly that of others here.

    I know that mental illness exists… this is because in my personal and professional life I have seen it in varying degrees, and it has been treated to varying degrees of success. I am a statistician and I have seen the figures, I have worked with the figures and have lived with mental illness in my work place and in my home life.

    I have a friend who is a psychiatrist and a psychologist… he moved to the ology because he got sick of the french psychiatrist’s propensity to just hand out drugs (he lives in France). I have discussed this with him and he thinks there are problems with the drugs approach and the non drugs approach alike, but that there are merits in both. I tend to agree with him in that cures for mental illness take many forms, and in the past and in some circles too many drugs have been given out. There is a problem, and this is something that needs to be addressed. The fact still stands though, the shrinks might have been misguided in the past and most likely still are in some countries, but it does not change the fact that mental illness is real.

    You can wrap as many semantics around it as you like, but the core of Cannotsay’s argument is that there is no such thing as an abnormal mental state and therefore there is not such thing as mental illness. He is in the wave of a hand dismissing everything from autism to dyslexia to ADHD to demetia to bipolar to depression to anxiety to tourettes to schizophrenia to any number of other conditions and disorders. All he is doing is petty points scoring and has a VERY black and white view on things and has not in fact budged on iota… if markers are discovered I bet you he will claim that it is not a mental illness because of the fact it has markers. If non are discovered then it is a mental illness and therefore cannot exist. He is setting himself up to be in a no lose situation. I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am far off the truth.

    He will respond to this with a slew of words and possible a link or two and those creepy smileys… and there might be some accomodating souls out there who will rise to his bait again, but I would ask them not to as he really has no interest in engaging in an argument that contains greys. He may have had a point here or there, but that STILL does not bring the whole house of cards tumbling down, he keeps quoting the same thing as if arguments that were pretty valid and strong against those points before suddenly do not exist.

    I come to this blog because I enjoy Steve’s style and for the most part he is spot on when it comes to the arguing and logic. He is human and gets it wrong, but always admits it. There are some very intelligent commenters on the blog too, and I see two very distinct ends sides to most arguments here… some will defend Steve till their dying breath because they trust his logic and because they work and have kids and don’t have the time to research every single point themselves, and there there are those who constantly nit pick at everything he says and try to find flaw in everything he and those who support him say. This often results in lively debate and I enjoy reading it and sometimes put my foot in… sometimes I get it wrong too, and sometimes I say stupid things…

    HOWEVER!

    In this case… I regret nothing. I am in a unique position where I have worked on the ground with people with mental illness and now work at a higher level directing management through stats and you cannot deny the numbers… people suffer every day and people get help from doctors and psychiatrists and psychologists and counsellors. I think Cannotsay’s denial is pretty disgusting and insulting to those suffering every day with the problems I listed above (and more…) and I find his tone condescending and at times quite cloying. He thinks he has the intellectual high ground because he has the time to look up references and link all kinds of barely relevant things. He picks everyone’s words to shreds and completely refuses to acknowledge any kind of wrong thought on his part (saying he will move in the future is not moving in my opinion). I have no idea where he gets the time to comment on the previous thread for at least a third of 500 comments… I barely have the time to read them… let alone respond (it is nearly 2AM here in Scotland and I am not even sure I will post this in the end).

    Look at what we are arguing here… are we looking at something that is black and white that either exists wholesale or does not exist wholesale? No… there are degrees of mental illness in all of us… we all need treatment to some degree, and most of us self medicate every day. We take drugs, or we drink alcohol or coffee or green tea, or eat chocolate, or go for a walk, or sit and meditate or do any number of things to medicate our minds. Some people are at the extreme ends though and we absolutely HAVE to have some way of identifying when someone has a problem that needs more help than they can give alone. Sometimes the illness is temporary, and sometimes it is not. But it is simply not black and white, the human mind is a massively complex thing while we learn new things every day we can only move forward if we understand that there is a problem there to begin with.

    Anyway… I keep telling myself I won’t get involved again on this issue, but it annoys me seeing people being so stupid about it. Mental illness is real and psychiatry is neccesary to help us understand and treat it.

  77. cannotsay2013on 08 Jun 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Bruce Woodward,

    You are a statistician… OK, could you explain in language he understands to steve12 that his reasoning is faulty?

    Then you are pulling straw man after straw man, such as,

    ” Cannotsay’s argument is that there is no such thing as an abnormal mental state and therefore there is not such thing as mental illness. He is in the wave of a hand dismissing everything from autism to dyslexia to ADHD to demetia to bipolar to depression to anxiety to tourettes to schizophrenia to any number of other conditions and disorders.”

    What I am saying, for the n-th time (and BTW, this is why I respond, because you guys keep making strawmen) is that the DSM labels are INVENTED, ie, that the only reason they exist is because DSM committee members brought them to life. They have not been validated by biology and that is Tom Insel’s point. That is not the same to say, because I never said it, that people don’t go through extreme mental states.

    In this sense, I dispute you can use the word “mental illness” to describe this extreme mental states other than a metaphor.

    In addition, and apparently sonic is the one that has understood this, I disagree with Insel and the like that biomarkers with predictive ability will ever be found for “mental illness” (whatever that is). And the reason is simple. In addition to a “cry wolf” thing that should make anybody’s suspicious of whatever promises psychiatry makes, we know for a fact that,

    - There are several billions of base pairs in the human genome
    - There are 85 billions of neurons in the human brain

    Even if there might be some strong relationships among them, that’s still a lot of independent, unrelated variables. That’s why economics doesn’t have any credible predictive ability, and that’s why you can show that the cause of crime in the US is the usage of Internet Explorer if you confuse correlation with causation.

    I am however open to the possibility that I might be wrong, but you’ll have to produce some evidence beyond wishful thinking (as psychiatry has been producing for decades :D ).

    “I have no idea where he gets the time to comment on the previous thread for at least a third of 500 comments… I barely have the time to read them… let alone respond (it is nearly 2AM here in Scotland and I am not even sure I will post this in the end).”

    Nice strawman as well: shoot the messenger. Whatever. This is the advantage of making a living out of one’s brain, I lead a very comfortable life :D .

    “Sometimes the illness is temporary, and sometimes it is not. But it is simply not black and white, the human mind is a massively complex thing while we learn new things every day we can only move forward if we understand that there is a problem there to begin with.”

    You claim to have been in contact with people labelled, but this disputes it. Usually, psychiatric labels are for life, especially for what psychiatry considers the most so called “severe conditions”. In psychiatry there is nothing temporary: it’s for life, and the solution is always drugging for life :D .

  78. cannotsay2013on 08 Jun 2013 at 10:07 pm

    “And the reason is simple. In addition to a “cry wolf” thing that should make anybody’s suspicious of whatever promises psychiatry makes, we know for a fact that,

    - There are several billions of base pairs in the human genome
    - There are 85 billions of neurons in the human brain

    Even if there might be some strong relationships among them, that’s still a lot of independent, unrelated variables. That’s why economics doesn’t have any credible predictive ability, and that’s why you can show that the cause of crime in the US is the usage of Internet Explorer if you confuse correlation with causation. ”

    And something else…. We also know that Insel has set up psychiatry for its ultimate failure because short of his program finding a pathological agent such as the HIV virus causing so called “mental illness”, we already know that in experiments in which we can control for everything that could be purely genetic, ie identical twins studies, genes alone DO NOT predict when a person will be labelled with any of the DSM invented diseases. So sure, while I am open to the possibility that I will be proved wrong, the probability that Insel will be successful with his program is pretty low :D .

  79. Jared Olsenon 08 Jun 2013 at 10:38 pm

    Steve, is there anything you can do about this idiot cannotsay2013 clogging up your otherwise excellent blog? It really is getting difficult to wade through the crap…

  80. cannotsay2013on 08 Jun 2013 at 10:40 pm

    Jared Olsen,

    Instead of insulting, what about making some smart argument? What is, specifically, that you disagree with what I have said :D ?

  81. steve12on 08 Jun 2013 at 11:05 pm

    I’m with CS. He’s right. About everything.

  82. cannotsay2013on 08 Jun 2013 at 11:12 pm

    steve12,

    Sorry I misspelled your name earlier (I put sonic12: my apologies sonic :D ).

    Did you understand the argument this time? Really, I don’t know how to explain it in a better way!

  83. steve12on 08 Jun 2013 at 11:14 pm

    How many times can I tell you you’re right?

    You’ve won; please stop rubbing it in.

  84. BillyJoe7on 09 Jun 2013 at 3:17 am

    I’m with you Steve.

    My receptionist had a normal variation of speech intelligibility consistent with what we might label pychosis but she definitely should not have veen labelled with a mental illness. The woman with two young children had a normal variation of responsiveness labelled catatonia but she definitely should not have been labelled with a mental illness. That son of a friend had a normal variation of structured lifestyle, not obsessive compulsive disorder. And I didn’t have agoraphobia, I just had a normal variation of feeling more comfortable at home.

    No, I am now convinced beyond doubt. There is no such thing as mental illness and nobody should ever be labelled with a mental illness. I am convinced we should use more accurate labels such as psychosis, catatonia, self-regimentation, and agoraphobia…um…I mean a strong preference for staying at home.

  85. Jared Olsenon 09 Jun 2013 at 7:40 am

    Cannotsay2013. For a gentle start, what do you mean by;
    “As long as you defend psychiatry, you are intellectually complicit with its crimes.”
    Could you please elaborate? Crimes?

  86. sonicon 09 Jun 2013 at 10:47 am

    Bruce Woodward–
    I agree– Steve’s style is good and his arguments are generally spot on.

    It seems everyone knows there is ‘pornography’, but it also seems very hard to define precisely. Oh, I meant ‘mental illness’, not ‘pornography’.

    Everyone knows there is ‘mental illness’, but it seems very hard to define precisely. Yes–

    And I think part of this discussion is about that- difficulties in precise definition. And we would have similar types of things to say about any term that doesn’t refer to something objectively measurable.
    I think Socrates was champion of beating people up with that–right?

    Another part of the discussion is about how the things listed in the DSM do not have biomarkers and the consequences of that– an extension of the earlier discussion about what it means that there isn’t an objective measure of something.

    Another part is about the evidence that ‘mental illness’ has a genetic component. The currently linked to evidence indicates that there are genes of interest– both due to commonality and function.

    There seems to be a misconception that a statistical analysis can show causation. Is that typical?

    Anyway–
    It seems that this is where the divide gets deep. The evidence is not in. One side thinks it will go one way and the other side thinks it will go the other way.

    I think it’s probably a false dilemma.

    It does seem that there have been confusions about where the disagreements actual are. I hope this helps clear things up.

    I do think that in general scientists prefer to deal with things that are objectively measurable as opposed to things that aren’t.

  87. cannotsay2013on 09 Jun 2013 at 10:57 am

    Jared Olsen,

    “Could you please elaborate? Crimes?”

    Yes, and I warn you that it is not going to be pretty. Also, since there is a limit of 3 links per post, I will have to post several comments (I hope that it is not interpreted as spamming).

    Novella is on record defending ECT,

    http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/how-electroconvulsive-therapy-works/

    A practice that is currently applied forcibly to people because of reasoning like the one above,

    http://www.mindfreedom.org/kb/mental-health-abuse/electroshock/glen-k-forced-ect/cuomo-forced-ect

    Forcing somebody to that, even if it is legally sanctioned, is morally speaking A CRIME.

    Note that part of his defense includes “appeal to statistical significance”, of the kind we know can show that dead fishes communicate with humans,

    “where the average global functional connectivity was considerably decreased after ECT treatment (P < 0.05, family-wise error-corrected). This decrease in functional connectivity was accompanied by a significant improvement (P < 0.001) in depressive symptoms"

    More testimony of another victim of ECT,

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2013/04/did-electroshock-save-my-life/

    Next comment…

  88. cannotsay2013on 09 Jun 2013 at 11:10 am

    Continuing with psychiatry’s crimes,

    http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2005/11/28/8361973/

    “Can Prozac make you want to die? The idea seems strange, given that the drug and similar antidepressants are supposed to do just the opposite. Yet that is what Kimberly Witczak believes happened to her husband.”

    http://www.cnn.com/2005/HEALTH/01/03/prozac.documents/index.html

    “An internal document purportedly from Eli Lilly and Co. made public Monday appears to show that the drug maker had data more than 15 years ago showing that patients on its antidepressant Prozac were far more likely to attempt suicide and show hostility than were patients on other antidepressants and that the company attempted to minimize public awareness of the side effects.”

    “The 1988 document indicated that 3.7 percent of patients attempted suicide while on the blockbuster drug, a rate more than 12 times that cited for any of four other commonly used antidepressants.”

    This resulted in the FDA forcing a black box warning in all antidepressants in 2007 http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/InformationbyDrugClass/UCM096273

    Note that in the case of Prozac, Elli Lilly knew at least since 1988 -evidence from their Germany approval process is that they probably knew earlier-, but the black box warning didn’t come until 2004. That’s 15+ years of people being so called “treated” with drugs that make them more likely to take their own lives, or, in the case of the Standard Gravure -that’s how that 1988 document came to the public eye- or Columbine shootings, to kill other people as well.

    During this time, Prozac was marketed as safe and effective, with the help of people like Steven Novella who were giving intellectual credence to the usage of anti depressants.

    Next comment.

  89. cannotsay2013on 09 Jun 2013 at 11:17 am

    Now we go to legally sanctioned crimes (below), even though, ironically, nobody has yet gone to jail. Note that this is a CRIMINAL SETTLEMENT. The study mentioned in the context of Paxil, is the so called study 329, of which the BBC had already made this special in 2007 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0ffzsrDkSQ (the video was uploaded in 2011, but the special is from 2007).

    And the irony, the study in question, was reaffirmed by the journal that published it recently http://www.browndailyherald.com/2013/01/23/u-will-not-back-retraction-of-profs-study/ even though the following facts have been established,

    - Martin Keller did not author the study, only put his name to it
    - The study was ghostwritten by an agency hired by GSK
    - The study failed to show that paroxetine was more effective than placebos
    - The study hid from the published results that paroxetine increased risk of suicide in adults.

    So, a field that under these circumstances fails to retract the article is a field rotten to its core.

    http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2012/July/12-civ-842.html

    Criminal Plea Agreement

    Under the provisions of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, a company in its application to the FDA must specify each intended use of a drug. After the FDA approves the product as safe and effective for a specified use, a company’s promotional activities must be limited to the intended uses that FDA approved. In fact, promotion by the manufacturer for other uses – known as “off-label uses” – renders the product “misbranded.”

    Paxil: In the criminal information, the government alleges that, from April 1998 to August 2003, GSK unlawfully promoted Paxil for treating depression in patients under age 18, even though the FDA has never approved it for pediatric use. The United States alleges that, among other things, GSK participated in preparing, publishing and distributing a misleading medical journal article that misreported that a clinical trial of Paxil demonstrated efficacy in the treatment of depression in patients under age 18, when the study failed to demonstrate efficacy. At the same time, the United States alleges, GSK did not make available data from two other studies in which Paxil also failed to demonstrate efficacy in treating depression in patients under 18. The United States further alleges that GSK sponsored dinner programs, lunch programs, spa programs and similar activities to promote the use of Paxil in children and adolescents. GSK paid a speaker to talk to an audience of doctors and paid for the meal or spa treatment for the doctors who attended. Since 2004, Paxil, like other antidepressants, included on its label a “black box warning” stating that antidepressants may increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in short-term studies in patients under age 18. GSK agreed to plead guilty to misbranding Paxil in that its labeling was false and misleading regarding the use of Paxil for patients under 18.

    Wellbutrin: The United States also alleges that, from January 1999 to December 2003, GSK promoted Wellbutrin, approved at that time only for Major Depressive Disorder, for weight loss, the treatment of sexual dysfunction, substance addictions and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, among other off-label uses. The United States contends that GSK paid millions of dollars to doctors to speak at and attend meetings, sometimes at lavish resorts, at which the off-label uses of Wellbutrin were routinely promoted and also used sales representatives, sham advisory boards, and supposedly independent Continuing Medical Education (CME) programs to promote Wllbutrin for these unapproved uses. GSK has agreed to plead guilty to misbranding Wellbutrin in that its labeling did not bear adequate directions for these off-label uses. For the Paxil and Wellbutrin misbranding offenses, GSK has agreed to pay a criminal fine and forfeiture of $757,387,200.

  90. cannotsay2013on 09 Jun 2013 at 11:23 am

    My last post for now (I have more ammunition if this is not enough for you be convinced that psychiatry is a murderous, criminal endeavor),

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mad-in-america/201101/psychiatric-drugs-and-violence-review-fda-data-finds-link

    “There has been an enduring controversy over whether psychiatric medications can trigger violent actions toward others. A review of the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System by Thomas Moore, Joseph Glenmullen and Curt Furberg, which was published by PLoS One on December 15, found that such “adverse events” are indeed associated with antidepressants and several other types of psychotropic medications.”

    To all those who claim that I am a conspiracy theorist, all this information is public and comes from reputed sources (no Scientology here). So obviously there is no conspiracy whatsoever here.

    It’s just plain old self interest, on the side of Big Pharma (they make an estimated 80 billion out of these drugs worldwide) and the psychiatrists. What I still don’t understand is the interest of “skeptic zealots” of being intellectually complicit of these crimes.

    sonic,

    Good analysis, as always :D .

  91. Yehouda Harpazon 09 Jun 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Unrelated to the discussion of psychiatry by cannotsay etc.:

    The title of this article talks about “Brain circuits”, and so does the press
    release to which it points:
    http://weill.cornell.edu/news/releases/wcmc/wcmc_2013/06_06_13.shtml)
    However, the research seems to be actually about neurons “navigation” in the
    spine. It actually says it in the press release like that:

    > In this study, researchers investigated neurons that
    > travel up the spinal cord into the brain.

    But it doesn’t actually say whether the navigation is inside the brain or
    the spine.

    In the abstract it mentions the spine but not the brain:
    http://www.cell.com/abstract/S0092-8674%2813%2900534-5

    Can anybody access the full article and check if it solely about navigation in the spine?

    The spine is part of the CNS, but it certainly not part of the brain. If the paper
    is really about the spine, then the press release is highly misleading.

  92. BobbyGon 09 Jun 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Q: What’s the definition of a “healthy person”?

    A: A patient that hasn’t been sufficiently worked up.

  93. BobbyGon 09 Jun 2013 at 2:41 pm

    “One thing you learn going through medical school and studying all sorts of diseases and pathology is a powerful medical corollary to Murphy’s Law – anything that can go biological wrong with the body, does. Every single function in the human body is associated with a disease or disorder in which that function is impaired or not working”
    __

    Interesting to me is the medical corollary to Donald Rumsfeld’s “Unknown Unknowns”? We really have no good, broad idea of asymptomatic “self-healing” that goes on across a life span, do we? “Remission” absent any diagnosis or clinical intervention.

  94. cannotsay2013on 09 Jun 2013 at 2:52 pm

    BobbyG,

    Not sure how to interpret what you say, but to follow up with what sonic said, psychiatry’s inability to make objective, biologically quantifiable definitions for their invented diseases is one of the reasons it is such an evil endeavor.

    They get away with saying things like “depression is caused by a deficiency in neurotransmitter serotonin in the synapses” despite the fact that

    a) There is no biological test to measure the amount of serotonin in the brain of humans
    b) Let alone what is the “right level”

    The only reason, to my knowledge, that SSRIs are known to alter it comes from clinical trials performed on animals.

    So when psychiatry is as asked, how do you know they work? They say, oh, because in a small study it was serendipitously discovered that those taking them were happier.

    But did you try this in a larger, double, blind randomized trial?

    Yes, but WE only published those trials showing a positive result in the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression. For some reason we forgot to publish the results of those studies that showed no effect over placebo or in fact negative effect over placebo :D . And while we were at it, we actually also forgot to tell people that in our trials those taking the SSRI experienced a higher propensity to violence.

    Cannotsay2013: I see, anything else you want to add?

    Psychiatry: mmmm, we continue to bribe psychiatrists more than other doctors http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/780835 “Psychiatrists Top List of Big Pharma Payments Again”

    Cannotsay2013: Is this related to the fact that probably you cannot get away with claiming that drug X cures HIV or lowers cholesterol if it doesn’t happen but you can get away with generic statements about “improvement” and “safety” about drugs that “cure” sickness that is not well defined?

    Psychiatry: probably :D .

  95. BillyJoe7on 09 Jun 2013 at 6:41 pm

    Do we say she has an extreme version of normal which we label “catatonia” or do we apply the label “schizophrenia”?
    Do we fight the stigma or do we deny the disease?

  96. cannotsay2013on 09 Jun 2013 at 7:11 pm

    BillyJoe7,

    I don’t want to go through the 500 + comments as we did on the other thread http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/the-genetics-of-mental-illness/ . My position, that you already know, is that social control should be left in the hands of the professionals of social control: the justice system (be it civil or criminal) with no legal input whatsoever from psychiatry. There are very stringent safeguards in place to prevent abuse since it is understood that this is what these people do, and even with that, abuses happen.

    You volunteered that you come from Australia and I understand that the views of this guy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_McGorry , and the movement of “preemptive psychiatry” that he represents, are quite popular there. However, even Allen Frances concedes “most at-risk young people will not become psychotic and pre-emptive treatment may be risk”.

    The fact of this disagreement shows again, the true nature of psychiatry: social control disguised as “medicine”.

    Even in the UK, fervent proponents of social control disguised as “medicine” have back pedaled http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/news_stories/2013/130326.html

    “The evidence is now strong that the use of CTOs does not confer early patient benefits despite substantial curtailment of individual freedoms. Their current high usage should be urgently reviewed”

    Talking about psychiatry’s crimes, that article says,

    “Currently, around 4,000 people annually are made subject to a CTO in the UK, with perhaps 10,000 people on a CTO at any point. ”

    That’s 10000 people whose civil liberties have been abused in the name of a scam, as one of the main proponent of it, Tom Burns, now recognizes.

  97. BillyJoe7on 10 Jun 2013 at 12:05 am

    But you never got around to spelling out how YOU think the social justice system should handle the patient who suddenly started talking gibberish and the mother of two young children who lapsed into a state of catatonic.

  98. cannotsay2013on 10 Jun 2013 at 11:33 am

    BillyJoe7,

    Nonsensical argument. It is perfectly possible to be anti slavery but not provide an answer on what to do with those slaves that before the abolition of slavery had a guaranteed job for life.

    Around 10000 people have had their civil liberties abused in the UK based on a scam (currently 4000 still do). Being against that abuse does not mean that I have to provide an alternative to said abuse.

    Again, you come from Australia, country whose society allowed this to happen http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_sleep_therapy#Australian_Chelmsford_scandal , so it is very obvious that we have different social values. That again provides evidence to the claim that psychiatry is social control.

  99. Bruce Woodwardon 10 Jun 2013 at 12:05 pm

    “It is perfectly possible to be anti slavery but not provide an answer on what to do with those slaves that before the abolition of slavery had a guaranteed job for life.”

    This is a perfect example of what an idiot you are.

    Being a slave does not constitute having a “guaranteed job” by any sane person’s understanding of what a job is and what a slave is. You are so disconnected from reality and understanding the human condition that it is quite scary.

  100. cannotsay2013on 10 Jun 2013 at 2:45 pm

    Bruce Woodward,

    Over the duration of the program, according to the above press release, 10000 British citizens -and counting- have had “substantial curtailment of individual freedoms”.

    The argument of what to do with freed slaves was indeed put forward by those opposed to slavery,

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/slavery/ethics/justifications.shtml

    “This argument teaches that slaves lack the ability to run their own lives and are therefore better-off and happier in a system where their lives are run by others”

    In fact, the real tragedy here is that those who defend psychiatry, and psychiatric coercion, are unaware of the type of human rights abuses that you guys are defending in the name of a quackery. I have documented a few here.

    With knowledge comes responsibility. Right now those who have your, Steven Novella, steve12, BJ7, The Other McCain, etc are being intellectually complicit in one of the most outrageous human rights abuses that are currently going on in all Western societies.

    Steven Novella is on record justifying the usage of ECT based on nonsensical appeals to “statistical significance”.

  101. Ori Vandewalleon 10 Jun 2013 at 8:53 pm

    BillyJoe7: I think cannotsay2013 was perfectly clear on how our society should deal with those people. His contention is that the tools to deal with them are already in place.

    So, if a person starts talking gibberish all of a sudden, and that interferes with her job, fire her.

    If a mother of two lapses into catatonia and is no longer choosing to take care of her children, arrest her for negligence.

    If these individuals happen to die while dealing with their problems of living, it was their choice to do so and we should respect that.

  102. ConspicuousCarlon 10 Jun 2013 at 8:59 pm

    cannotsay2013 on 10 Jun 2013 at 11:33 am

    Around 10000 people have had their civil liberties abused in the UK based on a scam (currently 4000 still do). Being against that abuse does not mean that I have to provide an alternative to said abuse.

    So you agree that there is some reason why they can’t just be set out on their own as though they were the same as everyone else? If these people were nothing but normal people who were arbitrarily abused by the system, wouldn’t you be able to suggest that as the obvious answer?

  103. cannotsay2013on 10 Jun 2013 at 9:07 pm

    Ori Vandewalle,

    “If these individuals happen to die while dealing with their problems of living, it was their choice to do so and we should respect that.”

    Correct. Plenty of human rights abuses have been committed, and are committed, justified on “benign paternalism”. You have a great discussion about the topic here https://www.madinamerica.com/2012/07/conquering-benign-paternalism/ .

    “So you agree that there is some reason why they can’t just be set out on their own as though they were the same as everyone else?”

    No, I don’t agree!! I am just echoing the fact that one of the proponents of having these people’s human rights abused is now on record asking for the repeal of the law that he, Tom Burns, made possible. In fact, the whole point of Tom Burns is that these people SHOULD BE SET OUT ON THEIR OWN, that the abuse they have been subjected to is not warranted even if we give psychiatry’s quackery scientific value (which I am not giving anyway…).

    “If these people were nothing but normal people who were arbitrarily abused by the system, wouldn’t you be able to suggest that as the obvious answer?”

    I don’t understand this question. As I said, my position is that these people did nothing, as in, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, to have their human rights abused by unfair laws.

    And my other position is that those that here defend psychiatry, and especially coercive psychiatry, are intellectually complicit with the most serious human rights abuses perpetrated today in Western societies. That would include you, if you defend that position :D .

  104. Ori Vandewalleon 10 Jun 2013 at 9:17 pm

    You heard it here, folks. If people have “problems of living” and do not seek help for those problems, they deserve to die.

  105. cannotsay2013on 10 Jun 2013 at 9:21 pm

    “You heard it here, folks. If people have “problems of living” and do not seek help for those problems, they deserve to die.”

    Correct. And I would add. If you want that some shrink decides for your when you have a “problem of living” that deserves a human rights violation as an intervention, I SUPPORT YOU.

    See, it’s my own freedom that IS NOT FOR SALE.

    Hope it is clear I support your decision to give somebody like Joseph Biederman or Martin Keller the prerogative of “helping” you when “they” consider it to be necessary but I do not support these people’s prerogative to do the same with me :D .

  106. Mlemaon 11 Jun 2013 at 4:54 am

    BJ, Steve12,
    Based on the idea that “the mind is what the brain does” Dr. Novella has continually defined mental illness as brain dysfunction. I can’t find any example of him doing otherwise. That’s what his whole post here is about.
    another excerpt:

    “In fact, there are diseases and disorders caused by underlying biological mechanisms we haven’t discovered yet, and studying these diseases offers big clues to healthy biology.

    The brain is no exception to this rule. This is an argument I frequently offer to those who deny that anything that can meaningfully be called mental illness exists. The details of the wiring of the brain – which neurons connect to which other neurons, in what pattern, and with what strength of connection – are what largely determine brain function. (There are other factors also, like glia and biochemical factors.) “

    I’m much obliged if you would point out his consideration of the psychological environment as a cause of mental illness, here, or anywhere else.

    There’s nothing irrational about saying “the mind is what the brain does”, but it’s important to recognize that what the brain is doing in the case of the mind is: processing information. The source of that information comes from the body itself, but also from the infinitely complex physical/psychological environment. And in actuality, if you include the body and everything in the world around it as “physical environment” – then we have a perfect materialistic explanation for problems of the mind. They are: the brain’s “translation” of less-than ideal input from the environment of the body or the external world. Behavior is a response to the internal/external environment. Thought can even be defined as behavior. And because “ideal” is subjective, we as a society have to decide what’s appropriate when treating what we call mental disease. Everything from genes to the sneer on someone’s face becomes “input” to the mind. We have no evidence that most of the mental disease we’re treating with drugs and surgery has any cause in brain dysfunction.
    Even psychotic behavior.

    My skeptical viewpoint is: since we have nothing to show physical dysfunction in most cases of what we now call mental illness, and we do have evidence that environmental factors play a recognizable role in their etiology, and that non-drug therapies are proving to be successful in treating them, we need to back away from the idea that mental/behavioral problems are brain problems that can be treated with drugs and surgery. We need to recognize, too, that in some cases diagnosis is the only thing that defines “disorder”, in which case the disease is a societal construct. All we have to do to see that mental illness is either in the one case: a social construct, or, in the other case: caused by society itself, is to find a society where it doesn’t exist as either.

    for example, check these out:
    “Shared psychotic disorder, also known as folie à deux or psychosis by association, is a relatively rare delusional disorder involving two (or more) people with close emotional ties. In the West, shared psychosis most commonly develops between two sisters or between husband and wife, while in Japan the most common form involves a parent and a son or daughter. Shared psychosis occasionally involves an entire nuclear family.”
    or how about:
    “Migration is a social factor that influences people’s susceptibility to psychotic disorders. Psychiatrists in Europe have noted the increasing rate of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders among immigrants to almost all Western European countries. Black immigrants from Africa or the Caribbean appear to be especially vulnerable. The stresses involved in migration include family breakup, the need to adjust to living in large urban areas, and social inequalities in the new country.”
    http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/psychosis

    and now let me tell you where the role of medicine comes in:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17011719
    regarding psychosis in the immigrants described above, these docs suggest that dark-skinned immigrants moving to Europe have a nutritionally-based psychosis:
    “They should measure vitamin D, homocysteine and vitamin B-complex status and assess the polymorphisms of the vitamin D receptors and the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase gene. If confirmed, these hypotheses would lead to effective and inexpensive preventive measures which would markedly decrease the rates of psychosis and schizophrenia, as well as the burden and stigma of these diseases, and greatly improve the mental health of immigrants.”

    possible nutrient deficiencies!
    So in the same way that long-term B12 deficiencies can cause mood changes, depression, memory loss, disorientation, and dementia, some scientists believe that psychosis in European immigrants is due in part to Vit D deficiencies.

    Mental illness is so very complicated that it may be caused by anything from a genetic problem (such as a deletion on chromosome 22 that’s known to cause a certain type of facial deformity and is linked to SZ) to living in the city:
    “‘It’s not clear if it is birth in cities, or upbringing in cities, but there is something about city living that increases risk,’ he said. ‘Where you are born and brought up is a LARGER CONTRIBUTING FACTOR TO RISK THAN GENETIC PREDISPOSITION’(my emphasis)…“The studies also reveal a “dose response”: the more urban the setting, the higher the risk. “This is one of the most solid findings in schizophrenia today,” said Susser. But the association with urban living has not received enough attention because current research centres on neural imaging and pharmacology, Susser says.”
    http://www.cmaj.ca/content/170/4/456.1.full

    Suppose I were a psychiatrist, and my esteemed colleagues and I decided that anger is dysfunctional. If we tabulate more than x number of angry behaviors in you (defined by ourselves), we may determine you to have a mental disorder. This implies unhealthy wiring in your brain and we strongly suggest that you have it fixed. In fact, if alternative therapies don’t curtail the amount of anger you’re exhibiting we will petition the court for your surgery. We happen to have learned through research that ablation of a specific area of your brain will quell your anger.

    This seems outlandish to you of course, but with DSM5 a child’s temper tantrums are now Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder: “temper outbursts that are grossly out of proportion in intensity or duration to the situation.” What’s “grossly out of proportion”? Does it have to be physical? What about in adults? perhaps getting angry on a blog is evidence of a mental disorder, because how can anything that’s never more than black words on a white background elicit anger in a mentally healthy person? A rational person would never get angry in such a situation, right?

    It’s been pointed out to me that brain wiring can happen in response to external stimuli, and can in turn determine thoughts and behavior. Brain wiring isn’t really a scientific thing, so I really have no quarrel if someone wants to say bad brain wiring is responsible for the mental illnesses that aren’t simply created by labeling unacceptable behavior. I would just point out again: the nature of the “wiring” we’re referring to would be susceptible to external factors, and there would be no way to affect it positively except through similar means. And it would be unethical to try to change someone’s brain just because it has dealt in the only way that any brain would deal with bad experience. We have to respect the integrity of the individual to develop mental illness as a response to bad environment/experience. This is the only way to try to effect healing change, either through 1) recovery: learning to re-interpret or otherwise cope with the experience by learning new responses, or 2) through changing the environment: leaving or changing a bad situation, or changing the society so that the situation doesn’t occur.

    If we’re changing brains with drugs and surgery just so they will be compliant to a bad situation, how are we helping to cure the disease?

  107. Bruce Woodwardon 11 Jun 2013 at 6:48 am

    Mlema?

    Be very careful when drawing conclusions about causation when it comes to environmental factors. Does an increase in reports of a condition mean the condition is reported more or that the condition is more prevalent? Even once you find out that, if it is reported more, is it because it is because it is being falsely diagnosed, or because there are fewer stigma associated with the condition in that time/area? This is just touching the surface of causality.

    And, for what seems like the hundredth time on this topic… someone is using the old False continuum fallacy. Here is the description from the SGU:

    “False Continuum
    The idea that because there is no definitive demarcation line between two extremes, that the distinction between the extremes is not real or meaningful: There is a fuzzy line between cults and religion, therefore they are really the same thing. ”

    ie… just because there is a fuzzy line between normal and not normal, you cannot claim that they are the same thing.

    To be honest, I am not sure what point you are trying to make in the fullness of that post. You seem to admit there is mental illness, but you don’t want treatments… or do you?

  108. Bruce Woodwardon 11 Jun 2013 at 6:50 am

    Oh for an edit button… but I know you latin buffs will jump on me…

    I think the plural of stigma should be stigmata. I think.

  109. SteveAon 11 Jun 2013 at 7:32 am

    ‘“You heard it here, folks. If people have “problems of living” and do not seek help for those problems, they deserve to die.”

    cannotsay: “Correct.”

    What would you do if you came across someone unconscious, lying face-down in a puddle? They’re not seeking help. They’re oblivious to the fact that they need help at all. Would you just walk on by and let them drown?

  110. cannotsay2013on 11 Jun 2013 at 9:21 am

    SteveA,

    False analogy. In your example, if the guy consciously says that he/she DOESN’T want help, I would respect his/her wishes. That is different from somebody lying unconscious.
    Again, this issue has been discussed at length in this thread and the other thread http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/the-genetics-of-mental-illness/ . I think my position is very clear, even if you might disagree with it. If you have any specific question about something that has not been already addressed, let me know and I’ll do it for you.

  111. cannotsay2013on 11 Jun 2013 at 9:26 am

    Bruce Woodward,

    You can repeat the False Continuum canard as many times you want, you are not refuting anything. It’s a strawman argument because nobody denies (certainly not me) that extreme behavior doesn’t exist. What I have said, and I will repeat as many times as needed, is that any arbitrary distinction in that continuum creates “false illness” that is not born out by the facts, such as separating the following two numbers if you decide that 0.5 is the threshold that separates 0 and 1,

    -0.4999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999
    -0.5000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001

    Once you create an arbitrary division you are separating numbers that can be infinitely close. People like you or Novella not only are clueless about the latest developments in hw and sw but apparently got an F in your elementary calculus class. It seems a pattern. A faulty understanding of mathematics/statistics seems to be at the origin of a lot of the BS that people like you spew regularly here.

  112. Bill Openthalton 11 Jun 2013 at 9:46 am

    Mlema
    You are suggesting it behooves society to adapt itself to extreme variations of behaviour. There are some precedents for this (like very costly special transport and dedicated teachers for handicapped children). But wait, society already accepts a lot of non-standard behaviour (for example, violating dress-codes, or living under a bridge), hence we are merely arguing it should accept a wider (or the complete) spectrum.

    This breaks down where the behaviour is a threat to others. For example, should people suffer violent or alcoholic spouses? We can argue whether or not the current definitions are too strict or too lenient, but we cannot argue the fact that certain people are afflicted with behaviour that is dangerous to themselves and others.

    As far as changing society is concerned, we simply cannot expect other people to be perfect and resources to be unlimited to ensure a suitable environment for specific individuals. Humans are meant to adapt to sub-optimal circumstances and thrive, and the vast majority do just that. The alternative to holding individuals responsible for their mental problems is NOT to hold society (which really is just shorthand for you, me and all the other humans) reponsible, but to accept that nature and nurture conspire to deal certain individuals a bum hand. We shouldn’t be playing blame games, but concentrate on finding the best possible solutions.

  113. Ori Vandewalleon 11 Jun 2013 at 10:03 am

    cannotsay2013: And what is the difference between someone who is unconscious and someone who is catatonic?

  114. cannotsay2013on 11 Jun 2013 at 10:22 am

    Ori Vandewalle,

    Once consciousness is regained, the wishes of the individual trump “helping zealots”‘ desire to “help”. In my own case, I never asked for any help.

    Again, for you, I support that you leave the decision of having your human rights abused by shrinks whenever they think that such abuse is necessary (as in the case of those 10000 British citizens mentioned above).

    It’s only my freedom that I worry about because it was already restricted once under fascist European standards. I am in much better shape in the US where there is support from both left and right to fight psychiatric nonsense (just look at how the NRA scandal has united Michael Moore and Rush Limbaugh to see that the fight against civil liberties abuses makes strange bed fellows). That’s my activism, my freedom in the US. If you don’t care about your freedom, I am fine with that too. All I hope you understand is that I care for MINE!

  115. cannotsay2013on 11 Jun 2013 at 10:22 am

    Typo (I hate that you cannot edit posts),

    “just look at how the NRA scandal”

    should obviously say,

    “just look at how the NSA scandal”

  116. Bruce Woodwardon 11 Jun 2013 at 10:29 am

    Cannotsay, you are invoking the continuum fallacy. You can blather on all you want about it not being the continuum fallacy, but you are actually invoking it.

    It is quite funny, you say… this is not a contiuum fallacy and then you use a continuum fallacy to prove your point.

    Just listen to yourself. You are saying that there are extremes but that those extremes are normal and should not be classified because you cannot create a point on the spectrum to clearly define those extremes. That is the very essence of the fallacy.

    Also:

    “False analogy. In your example, if the guy consciously says that he/she DOESN’T want help, I would respect his/her wishes. That is different from somebody lying unconscious.”

    Define “consciously says”? At what point do you know if that person is actually saying what they mean? What if they are sleep talking? What if they have been taking drugs? What if they are just very upset about someone dying? Will you kill someone if they ask you when they have just lost someone very close? Or do you speak to them and talk them through it, maybe give them some coffee or a beer or some chocolate or just a glass of water? At what point do you observe their wishes and let them shoot themselves? Right away? After one hour? After 1 year? Are you absolutely certain that when they ask 2 years later they won’t thank you for stopping them?

  117. The Other John Mcon 11 Jun 2013 at 10:31 am

    So you’re saying you WOULD help the unconscious [i.e., catatonic] person, at least until consciousness was regained? Sounds like you are a “helping zealot”

  118. Bruce Woodwardon 11 Jun 2013 at 10:32 am

    I actually came here to post this as I thought it was relevant:

    http://discovermagazine.com/2013/may/13-grandmas-experiences-leave-epigenetic-mark-on-your-genes

    Before I got caught in Cannotsay’s shitting up of yet another thread.

  119. The Other John Mcon 11 Jun 2013 at 11:00 am

    great link BW, hmm almost sounds Lamarckian, that’s fascinating…I wonder to what extent these are really heritable (what % epigenetics accounts for vs plain vanilla genetics)

  120. steve12on 11 Jun 2013 at 11:06 am

    Mlema:

    “We have no evidence that most of the mental disease we’re treating with drugs and surgery has any cause in brain dysfunction.”

    If you’d like to maintain this position, I think you need to take on the evidence you’ve been presented directly. Ignoring the (many) links that speak to the contrary of this only to

    1.wait a few posts and posit the position again
    2. ask for the links over and over, seemingly pretending they have not been given.

    We have a ton of evidence. If you think it’s bad evidence, say how.

  121. cannotsay2013on 11 Jun 2013 at 11:43 am

    Bruce Woodward,

    If there was a prize for whoever has made the most straw men, I think that you’d win it (sharing the prize with Novella, steve12, the loser of the 2008 election, etc),

    “Just listen to yourself. You are saying that there are extremes but that those extremes are normal and should not be classified because you cannot create a point on the spectrum to clearly define those extremes. That is the very essence of the fallacy.”

    No, my point is that ANY distinction made in that continuum creates, by the fact of doing it, a distinction whose only origin is the decision of whoever made the distinction, as in considering “excessive eating 12 times in 3 months”. Whoever said “12 times in 3 months” vs “12 times in 2 months, 29 days, 23 hours, 45 minutes” is creating a mentally ill of the guy who just had his/her third “excessive eating” in the 15 minutes between 2 months, 29 days, 23 hours, 45 minutes and 3 months. Not to mention that “excessive eating is in the eye of the beholder”.

    With respect to consciousness, don’t play semantics with me. It is very clear what “consciousness” means. Sleep talking is, by definition, sleep. You are just trying to come up with “benign paternalism canards” that have been refuted many times over.

    As I said, I have no problem with YOU GIVING SHRINKS the ability to determine according to their terms when YOU ARE CONSCIOUS. For, me the standard definition, that doesn’t involve any shrink whatsoever works. You want to put your freedom in the hands of people like Joseph Biederman or Martin Keller, I SUPPORT YOU. I don’t support you putting mine. I think it is pretty clear what I mean.

  122. The Other John Mcon 11 Jun 2013 at 12:27 pm

    “benign paternalism canards”? I just flushed 2 of those

  123. steve12on 11 Jun 2013 at 12:33 pm

    “benign paternalism canards”? I just flushed 2 of those

    I think I’ve found my favorite new euphemism.

  124. Ori Vandewalleon 11 Jun 2013 at 12:40 pm

    cannotsay2013: Make sure your friends are aware that if they ever find you catatonic or speaking gibberish that they are supposed to do nothing to help you. You might look like you need help, but you’ll just be having problems of living. You might be thoroughly incapable of giving anyone a coherent response due to your problems of living, but you won’t be unconscious, which means you can’t possibly have a problem you can’t handle on your own. You should clearly inform your friends of this wish because, if they find you covered in your own filth, malnourished, and insensate due to your problems of living, they might mistakenly believe it’s their responsibility, as your friends, to make sure you don’t die, whereas in reality they’ll just be paternalistic tyrants attempting to enforce their political will on you.

  125. cannotsay2013on 11 Jun 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Ori Vandewalle,

    I saw in your blog that you are a kid that have not lived long enough yet to understand my argument. I ask you to read these comments back when you are in your 40s or 50s.

    What you say there is exactly my position: no thank you, I don’t want your help. Please go and help somebody else. I think cannot be more clear. In your 20s you have a very naive view of how the world ought to be. I am speaking from the point of view of the world AS IT IS: with Joseph Biedermans and Martin Kellers.

    So my wish is clear: unless I have committed a crime, LEAVE ME ALONE!!!!

    And, as I said, I support your willingness to be helped by Joseph Biederman and Martin Keller :D .

  126. Bruce Woodwardon 11 Jun 2013 at 1:07 pm

    It is not actually clear what consciousness is, from Wikipedia:

    “Philosophers since the time of Descartes and Locke have struggled to comprehend the nature of consciousness and pin down its essential properties. Issues of concern in the philosophy of consciousness include whether the concept is fundamentally valid; whether consciousness can ever be explained mechanistically; whether non-human consciousness exists and if so how it can be recognized; how consciousness relates to language; whether consciousness can be understood in a way that does not require a dualistic distinction between mental and physical states or properties; and whether it may ever be possible for computers or robots to be conscious.”

    For you to be able to define what someone “consciously says” you will have to define what consciousness is. How come you don’t want to answer a very simple question?

    As for the continuum, you admit there are extremes but you want them all to be labelled as normal. If someone eats all the time, and eats and eats and eats, they have a problem and will probably die, if someone else eats nothing, they will die, these are extremes (from your example) that will result in someone hurting themselves… so, you are either saying these extremes should not be recognised and these people should be left to die, or you admit that the extreme is a problem and that they need help. One way you are a heartless bastard who does not care about someone who needs help, the other way you are invoking the continuum fallacy… I was giving you the benefit of the doubt, obviously you are a heartless bastard.

  127. Ori Vandewalleon 11 Jun 2013 at 1:20 pm

    I’m not sure what part of my blog indicates that I’m a kid. I’m an adult who’s recently returned to college and I’m no stranger to mental health issues. For example, when I WAS a kid, my (then) girlfriend was forcibly committed by her abusive mother. She spent several days in the psychiatric ward of a hospital where she was force fed antipsychotics. It was not a happy time for her. Somehow, despite that experience, both she and I maintain that psychiatry is a real medical field and that it can do some good.

    I can’t speak to what was done to you by psychiatry, cannotsay2013, but I can say this: your trauma has left you unable to differentiate between bad practices in psychiatry and psychiatry as a scientific endeavor. I know you believe with every fiber of your being that psychiatry has no scientific basic, but I think it’s important that you understand that your experiences color your perceptions. This comes through in the fact that every post you make that attempts to debunk the scientific claims of psychiatry inevitably ends with criticizing what you see as the immoral practices of psychiatry. You are unable to separate the two.

    This doesn’t make you unqualified to speak about psychiatry. Not at all. Your experiences (and others that are more plainly documented; we don’t actually know if anything you say about yourself is true) demonstrate that the practices of psychiatry are far from perfect. But these experiences alone do not qualify you to evaluate the scientific merit of the field.

  128. ccbowerson 11 Jun 2013 at 1:38 pm

    “No, my point is that ANY distinction made in that continuum creates, by the fact of doing it, a distinction whose only origin is the decision of whoever made the distinction, as in considering ‘excessive eating 12 times in 3 months.’ ”

    You are in advocating for the continuum fallacy as being a good argument. It is called a fallacy for a reason. With this argument you are denying the possiblility of any distinctions being made at all, and this extends to all areas of science. Yes, there is a component of arbitrariness with regards to the details of the distinction, but that does not invalidate that a distinction can and should be made in some instances.
    This is done all areas of medicine: e.g. blood pressure measurements (I guess that means there is no such thing as hypertension?, since the cut off is simply reflective of the person determining the cut off, right?). In fact all laboratory tests are subject to cut offs – high values, low values, critical values. There is a component of arbitrariness the specific cut offs, but that doesn’t invalidate the idea that there is often pathology at the extremes.

    In practice, these distinctions are not that rigid, and clinical judgement comes into play with a specific person and situation. These cut offs are usually meant to be used a guides, and do not cover every possible senario. Again, cannotsay’s black-and-white thinking leads to to the wrong conclusions.

  129. ccbowerson 11 Jun 2013 at 1:38 pm

    I don’t want to feed the troll by talking about psychiatry anymore on this post, but Science Friday/ NPR had a 30 minute piece on the DSM just last week, with Insel as one of the guests. It may be of interest to some here.

  130. Ori Vandewalleon 11 Jun 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Additionally, cannotsay2013, I think it’s safe to say that most 40 or 50 year olds would not want to be left to die if they were conscious but insensate. As a society, we have to make choices about which freedoms to curtail for some greater good. (If you disagree, you’re probably lying. For example, most of us agree that we don’t have the freedom to kill other people. Yes, we don’t have that freedom because it infringes upon someone else’s freedom, but the fact remains that pretty much everybody agrees that civilized society involves the constraining, to some degree, of individual liberty.) So if we do happen to live in a society in which most people would want to be helped if they were incapable of asking for help, we have to respect that and treat it as the default unless specifically told otherwise.

  131. arnieon 11 Jun 2013 at 4:27 pm

    In order to continue to find reading the responses to Novella’s blogs worthwhile I had, initially, only needed to make the belated decision to ignore all of CS’s comments. Then I had to take the next larger, but logical step which was to ignore all responses to CS. That has left me with a minority of responses left that are worth reading in blogs that touch on “psychiatry”.

    Mlema, your comments on this particular, string of comments have been worth reading as you so clearly recognize the power of non-chemical/non-surgical treatments to affect the brain in functionally positive ways. However, my reading of Steve N. is that he also recognizes the effect that the environment (including psychotherapy) can have on the brain, i.e., he recognizes that the brain responds with some degree of plasticity to both internal and external events/input which, in turn, affects the brain’s subsequent output. I, too, find the abstraction, “mind”, a useful concept, linguistically and philosophically, while recognizing that “it”, i.e., ” mind” is, in essence, one of the many activities of the brain. To me, that’s not even being reductionist, it’s simply recognizing the amazing power of this amazingly complex organ.

  132. cannotsay2013on 11 Jun 2013 at 5:48 pm

    Bruce Woodward,

    On consciousness, I don’t have the stomach for a semantics discussion, I think that people understand very well what I meant. I you don’t again, your problem, not mine.

    On the accusation “obviously you are a heartless bastard”, let me see,

    - I have been defending the human rights of 10000 British citizens who have had them violated only because some shrinks suggested so. Now the same shrinks are on record that this was a gratuitous violation of human rights that served no purpose. You have been defending that these people should have had their human rights violated anyway.

    - I have been defending the human rights of innocent people who are subjected to forced, barbaric so called “treatments” such as ECT, drugging or, in some cases, psycho-surgery. Many of these children were forcibly drugged because of the recommendations of bribed psychiatrists such as Joseph Biederman and Martin Keller. You have been defender the abusers.

    - And so on.

    So clearly, one of us is a “heartless bastard” but I think that it’s you, not me.

    The decision of who is behaving normal and who isn’t does not belong in the hands of a bunch of self appointed, unaccountable shrinks. Social control, precisely because it is subject to a high degree of arbitrariness, should be left in the hands of those whose job is to handle these matters. So sure, you can make arbitrary decisions about what behavior is socially accepted and what isn’t, that’s what the criminal and civil codes are all about. But because it is understood that they are arbitrary, even though some appeal to their religion to make murder illegal for instance, there are safeguards that prevent manufacturers of antidepressants lobby so that people who are sad after the loss of a loved one are eligible for drug prescription.

    Ori Vandewalle,

    Your blog left the impression that you are younger, yet you are making the fallacy known as “ad hominem attack”,

    “your trauma has left you unable to differentiate between bad practices in psychiatry and psychiatry as a scientific endeavor”

    And who is to say this, a guy who hasn’t completed a community college education yet (speaking of ad hominem attacks :D )?

    Get this, it’s the top dogs in psychiatry who agree that psychiatry does not meet the scientific standard that other branches of medicine do. In a get together with Jeffrey Lieberman and Tom Insel at NPR both agreed that psychiatry is a “step child of medicine”. So it’s you, blindly echoing Novella’s nonsense, against those who know what they are talking about.

    My voice is important for two reasons: a) all my criticisms have been now validated by the top dogs of psychiatry while you limit yourself to repeat so called “skeptic dogma” which we know now is dogma; b) it speaks of the effects of blindly following a quackery. It ruins people’s lives. And again, I don’t give a damn if you want to give psychiatry the right to ruin your life, my problem is that you want to continue psychiatry to ruin mine.

    As to your point,

    “So if we do happen to live in a society in which most people would want to be helped if they were incapable of asking for help, we have to respect that and treat it as the default unless specifically told otherwise.”

    Apparently you missed the class in which they talked about the Bill Of Rights, you know, those rights that the majority cannot take away by any means. The only one that doesn’t respect people’s desires is you and those who think along your lines. You are the one who wants to continue to give psychiatry coercive powers to impose itself whether its victims like it or not.

    ccbowers,

    On the continuum fallacy, I call it a straw man because it doesn’t address my argument, my argument is not that extremes do not exist, my argument is that any definition creates arbitrary distinctions that are not warranted by the continuum. You can continue to repeat Steven Novella blindly, but it is still a strawman.

    With respect to the definition of “normal range” of bio markers. First they are BIOMARKERS, which we agree are absent from all DSM invented diseases. So that onto itself invalidates the rest of your argument.

  133. BillyJoe7on 11 Jun 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Arnie,

    “In order to continue to find reading the responses to Novella’s blogs worthwhile I had, initially, only needed to make the belated decision to ignore all of CS’s comments. Then I had to take the next larger, but logical step which was to ignore all responses to CS”

    I’ve taken that first step. (:

  134. BillyJoe7on 11 Jun 2013 at 5:58 pm

    ccbowers: “There is a component of arbitrariness the specific cut offs, but that doesn’t invalidate the idea that there is often pathology at the extremes”

    Even in diabetes. The cut off mark has been adjusted downwards many times as experience has shown that pathology that is cost effective enough to be worth trying to prevent occur at lower cut off points. And, in any case, there is no denying that extreme levels need emergency treatment in order to prevent death.

  135. cannotsay2013on 11 Jun 2013 at 6:01 pm

    BillyJoe7,

    Difference is that in diabetes there is a biomarker: sugar level. What is the biomarker for depression, ie, what is the “right range” of serotonin level in the brain? No DSM disorder has anything like that and that was precisely Tom Insel’s point!

  136. arnieon 11 Jun 2013 at 7:38 pm

    BillyJoe7: That’s the important step but the second step was more difficult for me because some good stuff was embedded in some of the well-intentioned but fruitless responses to CS.

    I do not think, however, that condemning, judging personally, labeling, getting enraged, etc., at CS is useful or even appropriate. Neither is expecting rational and logical responses from CS. Perhaps if any of us had been through the same experiences he/she has had, i.e., “in his/her shoes”, we would have the same views. Who can say?

  137. cannotsay2013on 11 Jun 2013 at 8:34 pm

    arnie,

    “Neither is expecting rational and logical responses from CS. Perhaps if any of us had been through the same experiences he/she has had, i.e., “in his/her shoes”, we would have the same views. Who can say?”

    While I appreciate your comments, and I acknowledge that a lot of what I have said comes from my experience of being a survivor of psychiatric abuse, I reject the notion that my main objections against DSM psychiatry (in fact psychiatry in general) are neither rational nor logical. They are both and such has been acknowledged by some posters even by those who disagree with my other point that biomarkers for so called “mental illness” will never be found.

    My main objection to psychiatry has been agreed to by Insel, Kupfer, Frances and the like. It’s those who continue to defend the position that there are scientifically established biomarkers for so called “mental illness”, in the same way that there are for “diabetes”, the ones who are maintaining the irrational and unscientific position.

  138. ccbowerson 11 Jun 2013 at 9:28 pm

    “On the continuum fallacy, I call it a straw man because it doesn’t address my argument, my argument is not that extremes do not exist, my argument is that any definition creates arbitrary distinctions that are not warranted by the continuum. You can continue to repeat Steven Novella blindly, but it is still a strawman.”

    How am I following him blindly, when I was the first to point out the continuum fallacy on the ‘genetics of mental illness’ post?

    Also you are arguing that the extremes don’t exist when you argue that no meaningful distinctions can be made, because you dismiss all distinctions as completely arbitrary. How can you acknowledge the extremes without allowing for any distinctions? Its a self contradiction. Its not a strawman, its the logical conclusion of your argument.

    “Difference is that in diabetes there is a biomarker: sugar level.”

    Now you are changing the criticism. If the criticism is about arbitrariness of cutoffs, then these other examples apply, you are now changing the argument to biomarkers when we were talking about cut offs for pathology and the continuum fallacy. This is a way to change the argument when you fail to stick with your original point.

    All other areas of medicine do use cut offs that are somewhat arbitrary and not all disease states have biomarkers to evaluate them. I will give another example: asthma severity.

    Asthma severity in children can be determined by various signs and symptoms of their disease, ranging from ‘mild intermittent’ to ‘severe persisent.’ The severity score can be determined by how often a rescue inhaler is needed/used, during the day, at night, etc. This can be done with no biomarker to determine severity, and treatments can be determined from these scores. These scores have an arbitrariness to them, but they have been validated to correlate with outcomes. (For completness there are lung function tests that can be used to determine severity, but are not always necessary) Are you to argue that asthma severity are meaningless distinctions because they don’t use biomarkers and are arbitrary in the distinctions? Is that a scam as well?

  139. cannotsay2013on 11 Jun 2013 at 10:34 pm

    ccbowers,

    “How can you acknowledge the extremes without allowing for any distinctions? Its a self contradiction. Its not a strawman, its the logical conclusion of your argument.”

    It is not. This is where my continuous appeals to people lacking mathematical background fits. You put forward arguments of discrete mathematics that fail when one consider continuous mathematics. The type of contradictions that result from dealing from the “continuum” have been well known in mathematics since the late XIX-th century, such as the fact that in a “purely” continuous line there are infinite points between any two points no matter how close these points are chosen. At the same time, it is perfectly possible to define,

    - lim when x-> infinity of f(x)
    - lim when x-> -infinity of f(x)

    These are the “extremes”. The definition of those two has a precise statement which I will spare you from because it is very likely you won’t be able to understand it.

    So it is perfectly possible to realize that “there are extremes” while at the same time recognize that any arbitrary distinction in a continuum creates differences that are not born out by the nature of the continuum, precisely because there is an infinite number of points in between any, as in ANY, two points. Whether a “true continuum” really exists is a matter of controversy since quantum mechanics was validated, but for behavior, the “continuum model” is a good abstraction.

    With respect to biomarkers/arbitrariness the criticism is based on 3 points,

    1- Psychiatry has NO KNOWN biomarkers, not even of the kind of those scores used to determine asthma severity, for ANY of its invented disorders. “asthma severity” is very different from “eating excessively more than 12 times in three months”. Boy, if at least they had come up with a caloric number of what “eating excessively” means, they would have some point (it would still be arbitrary to call for 12 times instead of 13 though, but at least the meaning of what “eating excessively” is would be precise).

    2- In addition to lacking biomarkers, psychiatry deals with behavior. They use the word “symptoms”, in an attempt to sound medical -ie, to get validation by way of semantics- but behavior is not the same as sugar level in blood or “asthma severity”.

    3- And this is a point that is common with some other areas with medicine, except that those other areas have biomarkers AND talk about somatic symptoms -so the analogy doesn’t hold because points 1- and 20 are not present-: the decision of that range is normal and what isn’t. To define the “right range” of cholesterol, the method is easy. Take a random sample in a population representative of what is otherwise considered healthy people in purely biological terms (no heart problems, etc), and measure the cholesterol level in their blood. The range that 95% of samples have, is the normal range. But even here, Big Pharma tries to push the “normal range” as low as possible to sell more anti cholesterol drugs. The problem is that depression has nothing like this because to this day, most psychiatrists now acknowledge that the “deficit in serotonin” is a very simplistic notion. But even if that were to shown true, which has not been the case, the fact remains that psychiatry cannot measure, let alone determine the right values of, “serotonin levels in the brain”.

    So to summarize, the fact that psychiatry bases the definition of its invented diseases on behavior (vs somatic symptoms or biomarker levels) is what sets psychiatry apart from other areas of medicine. Second, in addition, they have to deal with the matter that there are not objective metrics to define “behavior”. Even the metric used in depression matters, the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, is a bit of nonsensical, certainly it is not as objective as a measure of cognitive ability such as an IQ test. But it gets funnier because even using psychiatry’s nonsensical measure of efficacy, the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, SSRI antidepressants are no better than placebos.

  140. cannotsay2013on 11 Jun 2013 at 10:57 pm

    And to elaborate more on the “continuum thing”, consider the following function,

    f(x) = 1/x if x greater or equal than 1
    f(x) = 1 if x is between 1 and -1
    f(x) = -1/x if x is less or equal than -1

    This function is perfectly defined and can be shown to be continuous, in the sense, that for every point, the limit is well defined. You can even draw a picture of it if you are so inclined. The extremes, lim x-> infinity of f(x) and lim x-> -infinity of f(x) are well defined but every arbitrary division creates artificial division, even if that division is say x = + or – 1 because, as I said, given that the function is continuous everywhere, the limit on the left and the right on both points of f(x) is the same, f(x) = 1.

    So what you call the “continuum fallacy” is really a strawman. It’s “avoiding the question” that in a continuum, arbitrary distinctions are created when some artificial division is created.

    The points x = + or -1 above have a different property that makes them “anomalous” but continuity is not (bonus points to whoever knows what the problem with those points is).

  141. cannotsay2013on 11 Jun 2013 at 11:31 pm

    If you guys want a funnier function,

    f(x) = 1/x if x greater or equal than 1
    f(x) = 1 if x is between 1 and -1
    f(x) = 2*x/(x-1) if x is less or equal than -1

    Here the extremes are different, lim x -> infinity of f(x) = 0 while lim x -> -infinity f(x) = 2. Still f(x) is continuous and any arbitrary division of the continuum, even if it’s x= + or – 1, will result in the problem of arbitrary separation.

  142. Ori Vandewalleon 12 Jun 2013 at 8:46 am

    Yeah, I can’t keep doing this. It’s only going to raise my blood pressure. We’ll all give up eventually, and CS will think it’s because he’s won, which is frustrating, but that’s just the way these things go sometimes.

  143. ccbowerson 12 Jun 2013 at 11:36 am

    “It is not. This is where my continuous appeals to people lacking mathematical background fits. You put forward arguments of discrete mathematics that fail when one consider continuous mathematics…These are the “extremes”. The definition of those two has a precise statement which I will spare you from because it is very likely you won’t be able to understand it.”

    You are confusing terms here, and your condescending tone does not help you when you are off base. We are not talking about mathematical extremes, we are talking about variations in biology, which we can call extreme. We do not need to say that someone must be infinitely tall to be called tall. These are not the extremes we are talking about, a person who is 84 inches/213cm is tall by any reasonable perspective. You are off topic and thinking in black and white terms, and that leads you to your non sequitur.

    “To define the “right range” of cholesterol, the method is easy. Take a random sample in a population representative of what is otherwise considered healthy people in purely biological terms (no heart problems, etc), and measure the cholesterol level in their blood. The range that 95% of samples have, is the normal range.”

    Actually it is not that easy, and that is a simplistic way of looking at it. That is a reasonable starting point, however, and you should now acknowledge the “arbitrariness” arument is not valid (95% is arbitrary and you have no problem with that). Ideally, useful cutoffs are validated in some way, (e.g. by correlating them to outcomes such as cardiovascular events in your cholesterol example).

  144. hadronon 12 Jun 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Pi is exactly 3! ;)

  145. cannotsay2013on 12 Jun 2013 at 3:12 pm

    ccbowers,

    Ironic that somebody like you makes this type of accusations :D ,

    “your condescending tone does not help you when you are off base”

    When it’s those arguing your side who have been all condescending, all the time, when the only thing that you were doing was to repeat what I call “skeptic dogma” that does not stand any type of serious scrutiny. I know that when a group of people repeats the same lies all the time unchallenged, group think develops, but alas, it is very easy to spot. Now to the substance of your argument,

    “We are not talking about mathematical extremes, we are talking about variations in biology, which we can call extreme.”

    Actually we ARE. Because to be rigorous, you need to make statements such as the “the normal cholesterol level is below 200″. That’s a mathematical statement of what is “normal” in a biomarker that, at least in theory, is continuous.

    In my third example above the result of f(x) (what you see) is a continuum (2,0). 2 can be well defined and 0 is also well defined as extreme results of “f(x)” -where f(x) could be the “height” caused by some random underlying process x-. So when you are making a statement about what is “normal” and what is “extreme” based on quantitative biomarkers that have continuous value you run into these issues. The above examples are fabricated. What differentiates points + -1 from the rest is that f(x) is not differentiable in those points, but that is a complete different mathematical notion from setting arbitrary distinctions between values in a continuum. As long as you have a continuum, it is perfectly possible to come up with fabricated examples of “continuous” functions that show all kinds of strange underlying behavior but which are still subject to the problems of creating differentiation where there is none when an arbitrary distinction in the continuum is established out of the blue.

    “That is a reasonable starting point, however, and you should now acknowledge the “arbitrariness” arument is not valid (95% is arbitrary and you have no problem with that). Ideally, useful cutoffs are validated in some way, (e.g. by correlating them to outcomes such as cardiovascular events in your cholesterol example).”

    At the risk of sounding pedantic, I am going to quote myself (emphasis mine),

    “Take a random sample in a population representative of WHAT IS OTHERWISE CONSIDERED HEALTHY PEOPLE IN PURELY BIOLOGICAL TERMS (NO HEART PROBLEMS, ETC), and measure the cholesterol level in their blood”

    So there you have your correlation. As I said, while I concede that 95% is arbitrary, that is only one problem that the rest of medicine has. Psychiatry has first and foremost the problem that none of its invented disorders has a biomarker to detect presence or absence of disease. Their diagnosis are basely solely on “consensus” of what is the “right behavior”. Behavior is not the same as a physical symptom or a biomarker such cholesterol level. Before psychiatry can get into the, comparatively speaking, minor detail of what “range of biomarker X is normal”, it has to come up with biomarkers!

    All the defenses of psychiatry have been based on an attempt to make false analogies “behavior = physical symptoms” or “range of behavior = range of cholesterol levels”. These are false analogies that are only believed by those who have an agenda in trying to make psychiatry look scientific but they do not stand any serious scrutiny. Another of my contentions along the way has been that the reason this faulty thinking passes as “good” in psychiatry but nowhere else is psychiatry’s status a a coercive force, of which all its evilness derives.

  146. cannotsay2013on 12 Jun 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Ori Vandewalle,

    When you are done with your community college, I sincerely encourage you to take a class in mathematical analysis, some class that has this book as its textbook or similar http://www.amazon.com/Principles-Mathematical-Analysis-International-Mathematics/dp/007054235X . You’ll understand better the arguments above :D .

  147. BillyJoe7on 12 Jun 2013 at 4:15 pm

    In our units of measurement, the cut off for treatment of cholesterol is 6.5 for someone with no other risk factors, 5.5 for someone with other risk factors, and 4.0 for someone with heart disease. After a certain age, it might not be worth treating all because of increased risk of side-effects according to a recent report.

    There must be some arbitrariness there.
    Yet, treating cholesterol prevents heart attacks.
    Hmmm…

    I’m not sure about CS’s mathematical proof, but it reminds me of Zeno’s paradox.
    You can never cross the finish line because, in order to do so, you must first go half the distance (true), then half of the remaining distance (true) and this goes on infinitim (true).
    Nevertheless I did cross the finish line in The Great Train Race a month or so ago, along with about 3000 other people.

  148. steve12on 12 Jun 2013 at 4:36 pm

    Obviously, this discussion is going in circles, but I do think there’s one thing we can all agree on:

    All of us need to advocate, politically is necessary, to give mental health professionals greater latitude to put people in the throes of psychoses into the care of qualified professionals where they can be properly looked after. Someone who’s going through an acute psychotic episode is in no condition to make that determination for themselves.

    At least that’s the take home I got from all of this.

  149. cannotsay2013on 12 Jun 2013 at 8:57 pm

    BillyJoe7,

    “Yet, treating cholesterol prevents heart attacks.”

    None of the DSM invented diseases has a biomarker akin to “cholesterol level” as a proxy for “risk to heart attack”. Even the “serotonin deficit” as a theory for depression (you know, that thing that develops after 2 weeks, 2 months or 1 year of sadness after the death of a loved one depending on whether you ask DSM-5, DSM-IV or DSM-III chairs) has been shown to be a fraud (and psychiatry never had any way to measure serotonin levels to begin with).

    My reasoning and Zeno’s paradox have very little to do with each other. In addition Zeno’s paradox is only a paradox in those who fail to understand analysis as well. It seems a pattern: people here seem illiterate with the mathematics of the real numbers and that shows :D .

    steve12,

    Actually, this is something I can agree,

    “All of us need to advocate, politically is necessary, to give mental health professionals greater latitude to put STEVE12, when he is in the throes of psychosis, into the care of qualified professionals where STEVE12 can be properly looked after. WHEN STEVE12 is going through an acute psychotic episode HE is in no condition to make that determination for HIMSELF”.

    For me, I don’t want any of that. As long as I have not committed any crime, I don’t want to be considered for preemptive locking regardless of what some shrink things. However, I support that they do that to you, if that’s what you want.

  150. rezistnzisfutlon 12 Jun 2013 at 10:43 pm

    You guys have really let CS derail any meaningful conversation here. I hope you guys realize that he’s getting exactly what he wants, which is attention and a false impression of relevance that isn’t warranted.

  151. steve12on 12 Jun 2013 at 11:19 pm

    sorry rez…

    Just trying to sum up what it seems like we ALL agree on, that involuntary treatment is neccessary for psychoses like schizophrenia.

  152. Mlemaon 13 Jun 2013 at 1:30 am

    steve12, what do you have in mind when you say involuntary treatment?

  153. steve12on 13 Jun 2013 at 1:49 am

    I’m just kidding Mlema

  154. Mlemaon 13 Jun 2013 at 2:12 am

    I’m thick. Was kinda guessing you were just goading CS, but I should have known better. :)

  155. Mlemaon 13 Jun 2013 at 2:19 am

    arnie,
    thank you. It’s possible. I’m having trouble teasing that out of the posts that Dr. N’s has written on mental illness. Just wondering if to a neurologist everything looks like a brain :)

    “Some patterns of wiring are demonstrably dysfunctional, resulting in self-mutilation, refractory seizures, or severe mental retardation, for example. Understanding what is happening in these extreme cases perhaps will aid our understanding of more subtle or borderline conditions.”

    To me, self-mutilation isn’t the same kind of dysfunction as refractory seizures or severe mental retardation. I don’t think a psychiatrist or psychologist would lump them together either. If we forget that behavior is a response to the environment outside, as well as inside, we’re less likely to focus on how to change the brain with tools that utilize that plasticity you’ve mentioned. I think I have a lot more trust in the plasticity of the brain to shape recovery from most of the mental illnesses defined by the DSM than most people commenting here. This is because I’ve witnessed it happen, brought about by therapists who really understand how the mind works and what it means to be “mentally healthy”.

    Examining the nature of a person’s beliefs and thoughts, as well as his inter-relationships and social environments can help diagnose that person’s mental health more than examining his brain. And addressing these directly can help heal. I don’t see how addressing the brain directly (as in drugs/surgery) can possibly do better. And the fact that the correlations to economic status and even physical environment (like schizophrenia being so much higher in the city that living in the city is a better predictor than genetics) means we really need to look at environment environment environment. Ha! I guess that is my mantra.

    But the fact is, psychiatry does study those things to some extent obviously. It would be nice to get a psychiatrist on here to comment. Did you know that to the average person who’s asked what’s the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist, they’ll say ” a psychiatrist can prescribe drugs”? And lots of people want drugs for their minds. And they cling to their diagnosis. And mental illness is one of the biggest groups on disability in the US. I don’t think any of this is good for us.

    this wikipedia page talks about the book “Anatomy of an Epidemic”, by Robert Whitaker
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anatomy_of_an_Epidemic

    and if you want to wade through another very recent conversation on mental illness on this blog, this is the post that the current kinda spilled over from:
    http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/the-genetics-of-mental-illness/

    there might be a few interesting things to be drawn out there

  156. Mlemaon 13 Jun 2013 at 2:47 am

    CS, I think that maybe for the changes that need to occur in psychiatry, it’s important to have people like you on one side of the issue. I support you shouting out about your experience with, and opinions on, psychiatry. Lots of people really don’t understand that horrendous things happen and that they happen even today. It’s not really that hard for a family to have one of it’s members committed. And even if pills aren’t literally pushed down your throat, it’s possible to coerce compliance for Rx drugs.

    I wish you well. I’m glad you got the chance to tell your story again. Hopefully science will prevail.

  157. Bill Openthalton 13 Jun 2013 at 4:21 am

    @ Mlema
    The problem with the brain is that it is self-modifying, and capable of re-targetting resources in case of problems. While chemical imbalances clearly have an effect on brain function (cf. your vitamin B12 reference), the brain can compensate (albeit often only partially) for the organic dysfunction by using the resources of less affected parts. The same applies for dysfunctions caused by genetic defects, physical damage, or disease.

    Similarly, the environment can be so challenging that the brain is “overloaded” and cannot cope, especially when the environmental issues affect areas of the brain that are already weaker (like hauling heavy loads will be more damaging to a person with a bad back). As a result, specific symptoms can be caused either by an organic problem (like a vitamin B12 deficiency), an environmental problem, or a combination of both. To make matters more complex, the same environmental problems will cause different reactions depending on the individual.

    This means the very real physical effects of a drug can be (partially) undone by activities of the brain we perceive as less physical — for example making a mental effort to overcome the very physical state of drunkenness (caused by alcohol in the bloodstream). Add to this mix the fact that the consciousness module has no, or very limited, access to the internal state of most of the functional modules, so our ability to report accurately on the actual state of the brain is very limited (cf. efforts to explain the reasons behind feelings and actions more often than not produce post-factum rationalisations).

  158. Bruce Woodwardon 13 Jun 2013 at 4:27 am

    “You guys have really let CS derail any meaningful conversation here. I hope you guys realize that he’s getting exactly what he wants, which is attention and a false impression of relevance that isn’t warranted.”

    I agree with you in the general sense, but I have to say for me it made me inspect my assumptions about mental illness. The fact that it became more and more obvious he was talking bollocks as time went by has been quite a lesson for me. I feel more informed now and even more adamant in my defence of mental illness and more confident in my ability to defend it to deniers. Every cloud etc.

    In saying that, I think CS has derailed what could have been some very good discussions. His outright denial really clouded some of the issues of abuse that occur in the practice and where we might have looked at individual conditions that have had some big advances in recent years.

    “Did you know that to the average person who’s asked what’s the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist, they’ll say ” a psychiatrist can prescribe drugs”? And lots of people want drugs for their minds.”

    I have a friend who is a psychiatrist and a psychologist and I asked him that question… his response was pretty much exactly that, though he did say it was a bit more than that.

  159. cannotsay2013on 13 Jun 2013 at 10:12 am

    Mlema,

    “I wish you well”

    Same yo you. You seem to be one of the few here who is not blinded by so called “skeptic dogma” :D .

    “I’m glad you got the chance to tell your story again. Hopefully science will prevail.”

    Thanks. Science is on our side and so is the sense of human decency. This scam will be defeated and, after the events of May 2013, I feel more strongly than ever that it might even happen in my lifetime.

    Bruce Woodward,

    ” I feel more informed now and even more adamant in my defence of mental illness and more confident in my ability to defend it to deniers. Every cloud etc.”

    Which I interpret as if you had said “I feel more dogmatic than ever” because really, your most “rational argument” was “you are a heartless bastard”, that from somebody (you) who defends outright civil right abuses to his fellow citizens (your spelling of “defence” outed you as a British). The real outrage here is that the UK abuses civil liberties of innocent people while it lets people like you out of the asylum :D .

    I think that this discussion has shown very convincingly that those who defend psychiatry do not do it from the point of view of science, logic or reason but from some other pseudoscientific biased, irrational point of view. I am even willing to give two hypothesis,

    - Feeling threatened that debunking psychiatric nonsense will have a large impact in the ability of the so called “skeptic movement” to defend the rest of their ideological agenda. This only speaks poorly of these skeptics for putting in the same bag AIDS denialism and criticism of psychiatry that has now been validated by Tom Insel and the like. You guys, instead of applying the two rules of holes “stop digging, start climbing”, continue “digging”.

    - Pure self interest. Many here, after the collapse of the psychiatric model that emerged from DSM-III, see very profitable opportunities in deviating money allocated for the NIMH (and similar) for neuroscience research.

    Now that I come to think about it, the second explanation is the one that seems more likely, after all the economic interest of psychiatrists and Big Pharma is what has allowed the “drugging model” of psychiatry to continue for a long time!

  160. Bruce Woodwardon 13 Jun 2013 at 10:24 am

    “…false impression of relevance…”

  161. cannotsay2013on 13 Jun 2013 at 10:41 am

    Bruce Woodward,

    Are you talking to yourself? Because really, the real joke here is to pretend that the May 2013 crisis in psychiatry, that many are calling its most serious since the Rosenhan experiment, didn’t happen and that you can put forward the same “canards” in defense of psychiatry that have been now been refuted by Tom Insel, David Kupfer, Allen Frances, etc. Even in the UK, as I said, one of those shrinks who was responsible for its passage, Tom Burns, is now on record that court ordered forced drugging outside psychiatric hospitals accomplishes nothing and it’s a blunt violation of human rights.

    In order to defend your dogma, you have to deny science and side with human rights abuses. Every time you open your mouth to defend yourself you look more scientifically ignorant and inhumane. What a pathetic creature you are!

  162. Bruce Woodwardon 13 Jun 2013 at 10:41 am

    To my chagrin I just found:

    http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/responding-to-a-szaszian/#more-4418

  163. cannotsay2013on 13 Jun 2013 at 10:46 am

    Bruce Woodward,

    Do you realize that that very same point that sounds “reasonable” by Novella has now been refuted by Tom Insel, David Kupfer, Allen Frances, etc?

    It was never a good argument to begin with, but because “skeptic dogmatism” corrupts critical thinking, it only passed as “good” among those who had an ideological agenda, which again proves that people like you are no better than the religious zealots you so much despise.

    Psychiatry is to you what young earth creationism is to a fundamentalist Christian!

  164. steve12on 13 Jun 2013 at 3:06 pm

    “To my chagrin I just found:”

    Wow. that was a little rough…..

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