in In the news

Psychiatry in the news 3 March 2009

I’m sorry I’m not writing much at the moment, I’ve got another bloody exam, but in the meantime:

Britain’s highest decorated serving soldier has criticised the provision of mental health care for UK soldiers: BBC: Veteran mental care ‘a disgrace’ and Ex-soldier’s battle for mental health 28 February 2009 / Guardian: Minister defends care given to war veterans 1 March 2009 / Independent: Soldiers rally to VC hero’s defence 2 March 2009 / Mirror: Young war veterans are three times more likely to kill themselves than civilians – exclusive / Independent: Dr Walter Busuttil: Some veterans have traumas from four conflicts 28 February 2009.  What interests me the most is that PTSD is always referenced in press and in popular discourse uncritically as if its validity were established beyond doubt, which illustrates how willing British society has become to describe our difficulties in terms of psychological disorders. 

Whilst I am on the subject, it may soon be quicker to list the things that don’t give you PTSD than the things that do.  Here the the Guardian website reports, with the help of the BMJ Strokes can give you post traumatic stress 27 February 2009

AstroZeneca is in trouble with its antipsychotic medication Quetiapine regarding when the company knew this medication increased the risk of developing diabetes.  Nine thousand US citizens are taking court action, saying that they have been harmed by the medication.  The Wall Street Journal reports that there are allegations that the company sought to suppress unflattering studies.  The Times reports on 27 February that concern about AstraZeneca’s conduct over Quetiapine has cost the company 7% of its share price.

In mid February, it was speculated that psychiatrists might recommend that Peter Sutcliffe the Yorkshire Ripper could be realised – Ripper’s fit to be released from Broadmoor – Sun February 17 2009  Since the only UK prisioner less likely to be released is Ian Brady, one wonders why they didn’t save their breath.  And so it turned out:  Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe likely to spend rest of life in jail Times 18 February 2009

As a science/medicine blogger, it’s sometimes difficult to find something current to write about that Ben Goldacre at Bad Science and Vaughn at Mindhacks haven’t already covered better than you.  Goldacre has an acute ear for folly, and is an expert at exposing bullshit.  Vaughn at Mindhacks is a powerhouse of intellect.  It’s been phasers on kill for them both against the article Well connected?: the biological implications of social networking Riposte: “Facebook causes Cancer” – Bad Science / Facebook causes marble loss – Mind Hacks.  Also try Age Concern backs social networks but Ben Goldacres blood pressure still rising – Technology blog Guardian 25 February 2009 and Facebook: it’s not neuroscience – Guardian Comment is Free 25 February 2009

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  1. Hello, I am a writing a feature article on obsession-what causes obsession, why, how, what constitutes it and i would greatly appreciate talking to an actual psychatrist about this issue.
    Please if you can spare the time to email me and perhaps discuss this with me i would be ever-so grateful

    many regards, elisse

  2. Interesting point on the quetiapine. I take this medicine and I have to say it works brilliantly, but I’ve put on 21% of my pre-quetiapine bodyweight since I started taking it some months ago. I’d still rather be sane than skinny, but presumably this is something that is associated with all antipsychotics? Are there any that are not so hard on the scales?

  3. The Maudsley Prescribing Guidelines rates antipsychotics thusly in terms of weight gain potentiality:

    High: Clozapine, Olanzapine

    Moderate/high: Zotepine

    Moderate: Chlorpromazine, Quetiapine, Risperidone

    Low: Amisulpiride, Aripiprazole, Haloperidol, Trifluoperazine, Ziprasidone