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Norman Marks

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Pharmageddon
Pharmageddon
by David Healy
Edition: Paperback
Price: £24.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A comprehensive summing up of what is wrong with medicine today, 15 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: Pharmageddon (Paperback)
I read this book whilst for preparing for participation in a discussion panel about corruption in Big Pharma, amd it really helped clarify my many disjointed thoughts on the matter.

David Healy's book is a compreshensive summing up of all that is wrong with modern medicine. He shows, how, in under a century, medicine has gone from being a personal, wisdom based and humane practice to a massive techo-industry called Healthcare. He demonstrates the evolution of Big Pharma and it's increasing hold it has over how medicine is conducted globally. For every measure put in place to try a restrain the insideous power of industry: the creation of standards for research; evidence based medicine; or regultaing agancies like the FDA, Big Pharma has found ways to co-opt these measures to meet their own ends. These ends, are purely about financial gain and maximizing shareholder profits. Patient health and safety is rarely a going concern.

The power of Big Pharma operates at a number of connected levels, e.g the conduction and publication of biased research, using ghost writers to write copy for them whilst putting a handsomely paid medical experts name on the paper, influencing medical journals as well as the wider media, infiltrating patient groups, lobbying and influencing government and marketing, masinly to doctors.

This book confirmed all I already suspected and as another reviwer has stated dispelled all doubts that the situation might be otherwise. Is there anything that can be done to stop this? David Healy feels this is up to all of us, but provides no concrete solution, except to say the power is with the consumer.

A must read for healthcare providers and consumers alike.


Electroconvulsive Therapy in Children and Adolescents
Electroconvulsive Therapy in Children and Adolescents
by Neera Ghaziuddin
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £37.99

1.0 out of 5 stars To my mind this is a terrible premise for a book, 9 Dec. 2014
To my mind this is a terrible premise for a book. "The chapter detailing side effects of the treatment dispels misinformation and indicates that ECT is a safe, painless and a highly effective procedure which is not associated with any lasting side effects". It is worth baring in mind in some countries ECT is banned, while in others it's use is restricted. In the UK, where NICE took the time to ask patients about there experiences of ECT, they found that while some were helped, many reported severe long lasting memory deficits, especially to precious biographical memories as well as procedual memory. Other's felt deeply traumatised by the experience of having ECT.

"The chapter about the mechanism of action ECT describes biological mechanisms that are known to underlie mental illness". This is just blinding you with science. There are no biological mechanisms underlying mental illness. Mental illnesses in adolescants, can equally be seen as complex social and psychological problems with their roots in trauma. Peter Breggin, a psychiatrist in the States provides an explanation of the mechanism of ECT as causing a colosed head injury, which puts the patient into a punch drunk, post head injury state, which takes about four weeks to resolve. I.e. the time it takes for the effects of ECT to wear off.

Read an Bentall in 2010 provide an excellent review of randomised controlled trials on ECT, something this book lacks. They show that "placebo controlled studies show minimal support for effectiveness with either depression or 'schizophrenia' during the course of treatment and no evidence, for either diagnostic group, of any benefits beyond the treatment period". They conclude that "Given the strong evidence of persistent and, for some, permanent brain dysfunction, primarily evidenced in the form of retrograde and anterograde amnesia, and the evidence of a slight but significant increased risk of death, the cost-benefit analysis for ECT is so poor that its use cannot be scientifically justified".

And I think I'd tend to agree, especially after a patient, attached to our out patient department, killed herself, following an inpatient admission where she was given ECT, and afterwards was so disturbed by the memory loss it had caused, she felt even more hopeless than when she had gone into to hospital.


Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5)
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5)
by American Psychiatric Association
Edition: Paperback
Price: £96.49

96 of 124 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad science just got worse, 4 Jun. 2013
As an experienced psychiatrist I have followed the controversy about the publication of DSM-5 with interest. My greatest concern is that the categories and 'disorders' previous editions of DSM have created have now become rarerified entities and yet there remains a lack of 'biological' evidence to substatiate their existance, as such the categories lack ture construct validity. A focus on symptoms obscures the importance of personal narrative and lived experience, cleansing suffering of the messy business of life. Indeed many contemporary narratives of psychiatric survivors point to improved outcomes once the diagnostic labels are ditched along with the medicines. The diagnostic labels have proved in the past to be a fertile source of income for drug companies who are all to often rightly acused of putting profit ahead of patient safety. My fear is that DSM-5 just offers more of the same and by it's own admission lacks the science to back it up. If you are a health professional looking for a manual by which to categorise your patients I would suggest campaining and lobbying for a psychiatry that actually reflects your patients' experience, and avoiding labels that seem to be at best self fulling prophecies. If you are a person trying to make sense of your experience I would suggest that Tolstoy, Shakespeare, Dickens, Fitzgerald or any of the great writers say more about being a human being than any psychiatrist ever has or will. Or why not check out some of the many self help books on offer on Amazon.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 9, 2014 11:24 AM BST


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