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Citizens Commission on Human Rights Award Recipient (Twice)
Humanist, humorist

Friday, September 01, 2017

The Prognosticator Pariante





Earlier this week the British tabloid, The Evening Standard, ran with an article that posed the question, Why are prescriptions of antidepressants at an all-time high?

Finally, I thought, evidence to show why antidepressant prescriptions have risen by 92% in the UK over the last ten years.

Alas, I was wrong. The article rolled out the standard fare and it appeared that the column inches were given to two members of the Science Media Centre (SMC). You can read about the SMC here.

A day later, another British tabloid, this time The Guardian, rolled out an article from Mark Brown, this one was entitled, Antidepressants work, so why do we shame people for taking them?

Leading the push to increase the 92% increase in prescriptions for antidepressants was none other than Swedish professor of pharmacology, Elias Eriksson who, in the past, has been on advisory boards and/or received speaker's honoraria from Eli Lilly and H Lundbeck, both of whom, you've guessed it, promote and manufacture antidepressants. Swedish friend and fellow investigative journalist, Janne Larsson, who has been researching Eriksson for years, told me, "You should know that his next target is children; to make a “reanalysis” of the studies on antidepressants done by the companies, to show that the pills are “safe and effective” also for children and that the claims about increased suicidality are completely wrong."

Today, however, I wish to concentrate on the Evening Standard article because it throws up yet another popular myth from the field of psychiatry.

Last month the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) ran a disastrous PR campaign via Twitter, this coming after the BBC had aired A Prescription For Murder. The RCP, it seemed, wanted to orchestrate the general consensus that Panorama was scaremongering when they dared to point out that an antidepressant called Zoloft could have been implicated in the slaying of cinema goers in Aurora, Colorado (2012).



Spearheading this initiative was, amongst others, Carmain Pariante and Wendy Burn, both of whom have strong connections to the RCP and SMC. It was an initiative that backfired as hundreds of people, concerned about the side effects of antidepressants, pushed questions at them. In the end, they were forced to concede that the chemical imbalance theory, that they had been promoting for many years, was now something that they no longer agree with. No apology, no explanation as to why they ever promoted this nonsense, just a tweet...



So, with one myth busted what do they, the RCP do? Well, they create another one, once again offering no proof whatsoever. They, after confessing that they no longer supported chemical imbalance theory wrote this...


So, the story of Hansel and Gretel and the mysterious hut made of sweets continues. Hansel and Gretel, although I say so myself, is a good analogy to use here - they too were duped into believing the mysterious hut was everything they could wish for, what kid wouldn't like to see a hut made of sweet tasting candy, right? They were basically lured into the hut by the wicked witch who, in some versions of the old fairy-tale, was a cannibal.

Now, I'm not suggesting for one minute that Wendy Burn and Carmain Pariante are your modern day versions of the wicked witch or, indeed, cannibals, but the antidepressants they, seemingly, promote are aimed at the public in pretty much the same way of luring (making false promises).

You see, for many years people have questioned where depression comes from. Logical people will tell you that it's more than likely down to circumstances in your life, you know, financial woes, relationship problems, work related stress, etc.

The pharmaceutical industry, along with the field of psychiatry don't know why people get depressed, nobody does. So, to sell a pharmaceutical product one has to create a problem that it can cure or, as with the case of antidepressants, stabilize. That's why the chemical imbalance theory was born and, as you can see above, later (much later) officially thrown out of the pushchair by the RCP.

However, with one myth gone they had to create another - let's face it, without antidepressants a good 80% of psychiatrists would be unemployed. So, along comes the 2017 version of the chemical imbalance, in that antidepressants increase new brain cells. You see, anyone can say pretty much anything about the human brain because it's an organ that has been studied by the medical establishment for many years, they have guessed, second guessed and created theories because, well, because if they look at the workings of the brain on a rat and then treat that rat with a chemical then that treatment will, more than likely (they claim) work on the brain of a human.

So, is it possible to actually create new brain cells? There are many who claim that this is, indeed, is a possibility. However, those that make these claims outside of the incestuous industry do so by offering the fruits of mother nature.

Blueberries, dark chocolate, Omega-3 fatty acids, turmeric, and green tea are also said to create new brain cells, as is sex. To my knowledge, none of the above carry any risk of suicide or any withdrawal problems.

If it's true that these natural products can create new brain cells then why is Pariante jumping on the back of mother nature and now claiming that antidepressants do the same? The Evening Standard article quotes him:

"The action of antidepressants is more complex than that and involves stimulating the birth of new brain cells and regulating stress hormones."

Nowhere in the article does Pariante offer any evidence to back his claim. Why would he? For years people like him continued to tout the chemical imbalance nonsense - for years he, just like many others, refused to budge, resulting in millions of prescriptions to unsuspecting members of the public who were told by their general practitioner that they had something chemically wrong going on inside their brains...but fear not, there is a product on the market that can correct it.

The latest creation of new brain cells myth will, no doubt, go unanswered for many years, is it true, isn't it true? It doesn't really matter whether it is or not, at least not to the likes of Pariante et al. He just needs something in place to deflect the reasons why he and his colleagues duped so many people for years.

Just like the witch did to Hansel and Gretel.


Bob Fiddaman






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