A new study shows that brain scans could be used to diagnose depression. That would be an enormous breakthrough, for centuries of psychiatry have never come up with any kind of objective test for psychiatric diseases. And a brain scan sounds really scientific. Except that it’s just a fancy way to build on unproven assumptions. Which makes the scans useless.
“show distinct differences in the brains of people suffering different types of depression.” There things go wrong immediately. For what is the definition of a depression? And how do you diagnose “different types of depression”? That’s the problem with psychiatry. Objective diagnoses simply don’t exist and the definition of any kind of mental disease varies widely. So what happens here is that a doctor diagnoses someone with some kind of depression and then tries to match an MRI scan with the diagnosis. It’s inevitable that in many cases the scan won’t show the differences in brain activitiy. This is already a huge problem with medical diseases, but with psychiatric diseases you immediately end up in the area of assumptions. Again.
“depending on which type of depression they had.” Professor Parker, can I ask you what the different types of depression are and how you diagnose them? It looks very much like you are producing proof for an assumption and that’s easy. You can also prove the exact opposite. “One is the very biological depression which we call ‘melancholia’.” A biological depression? Explain. If there is a biological reason for a depression then you will have to show that with e.g. a blood test. But there is none. Psychiatry for a long time has tried to convince the world that mental diseases are caused by “chemical inbalances”, but the problem is that these imbalances should easily show up in a lab test. But those tests don’t exist, which is proof that the chemical imbalance doesn’t exist. Which throws the “biological depression” out of the window. But that obviously doesn’t bother professor Parker. “that people with it can be properly treated.” Like how? Do you have a good treatment for depression? Tell me all about it! Drugs are known to be useless. Shock therapy is barbaric, dangerous and useless. So what effective treatments do you have on offer?
“A number of our recent brain imaging studies have found distinct sub-types of patterns of activity in the brain for people with depression,”So you don’t know what depression is, you can’t diagnose it properly, but you can see different sub-types? What on earth are you talking about? “we know from other studies respond differently to different types of medication.” Everyone responds differently to pharmaceuticals. That’s nothing new. But it’s nothing new either that pharmaceuticals don’t have any better effect than placebo’s. Have you tried to do brain scans on people who get placebo’s? Maybe that would give some interesting information. Though actually I doubt it. Brain scans sound very scientific, but their interpretation is still based on assumptions.
“important step towards more effective treatment of depression.” Dr. Breakspear, you admit that right now you only have ineffective treatments? Well, you knew that already, didn’t you? The treatments you have on offer are known to be useless, but that doesn’t stop you from prescribing them. After all you are a psychiatrist and useless therapies is what the history of psychiatry is for 100% made of.
I really think that you should do some research using placebo’s and placebo therapy and see what happens then on your cherished brain scans. I promise you that you will be surprised. But I don’t think you will do that. For drugs seems to be the only thing that you people focus on. The more drugs you prescribe, the happier your friends at the pharmaceutical industry are. Yes, your friends. It’s known that most psychiatrists have financial ties to this industry. So why on earth would you try to help patients by researching placebo’s? Too bad that patients will suffer and that they will die from dangerous therapies. Collateral damage has always been part of your profession and it doesn’t look like that will change any time soon. Fancy brain scans won’t do anything about that.