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David Healy Presenting Two Seminars on March 8

David Healy will present two seminars at the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research (112 Paterson Street, 1st floor conference room) on Thursday, March 8th. The first talk (9:30 AM - 11:00 AM) is entitled, "The Changing Face of Psychosis: Implications for Treatment." Using data from the North Wales asylum and from contemporary services in North Wales, this talk will deal with the emergence and disappearance of psychoses. The data show significant changes in the incidence of schizophrenic psychoses, as well as melancholic psychoses, with dramatic fluctuations in the schizophreniform psychoses. Classic de novo onset postpartum psychoses have vanished. Catatonic states and hebephrenia are now rare. These changing incidences have implications for clinical management and service delivery but also for the way in which we think about diseases and their histories.

The second talk on "The Eclipse of Medical Care" will begin at 12:00 noon and end at 1:30 PM. We live in an Evidence Based Medicine world. Almost everyone assumes this means Data Based Medicine and that if the data point in a particular direction this should trump the values and experience of individual doctors and produce the best outcome for patients. But there is increasing evidence of a mismatch between the so called evidence and the real data from studies. Pharmaceutical companies sequester clinical trial data and publish only the material that suits them.This ‘evidence’ is then embodied in guidelines that have all but taken over clinical prescribing in a manner comparable to the way that GPS takes over the driving of a car. As a result, both patient and doctor are increasingly invisible in the clinical encounter and the ability of Doctors to Care is being lost. More to the point, adverse events on drugs in some areas of medicine are now the leading cause of death. This situation hinges on the current patent laws for drugs, on the prescription only status for drugs, and on company trials – protections that were all put in place to save us from another Thalidomide. Treating the growing crisis in medicine will require remedies targeting one or more of these factors. In the meantime, doctors or others need to speak up for patients who are being injured by treatments – but increasingly this will appear to pit us against the ‘science’ and the question for each of us is whether we are able to take this stand or not.

Dr. Healy is Professor of Psychiatry in Cardiff University, a former Secretary of the British Association for Psychopharmacology, and author of over 160 peer reviewed articles, 200 other pieces and 20 books, including The Antidepressant Era, and The Creation of Psychopharmacology, The Psychopharmacologists Volumes 1-3, Let Them Eat Prozac, & Mania, as well as Psychiatric Drugs Explained, now in its 5th Edition as well as a forthcoming book on our current crisis in healthcare. One of his main research areas involves historical epidemiology. But he has also been involved as an expert witness in homicide, suicide and birth defect trials involving SSRI drugs, and in bringing these problems to the attention of American and British regulators. He has also worked on aspects of how pharmaceutical companies market drugs by marketing diseases and co-opt academic opinion-leaders by ghost-writing their articles.




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