I follow food and nutrition science to some extent.  This caught my attention:

It’s been a profitable venture for the drug companies, as well as for the professors and their universities. Agriculture schools increasingly depend on the industry for research grants, a sizable portion of which cover overhead and administrative costs. And many professors now add to their personal bank accounts by working for the companies as consultants and speakers. More than two-thirds of animal scientists reported in a 2005 survey that they had received money from industry in the previous five years.

Yet unlike a growing number of medical schools around the country, where administrators have recently tightened rules to better police their faculty’s ties to pharmaceutical companies, the schools of agriculture have largely rejected critics’ concerns about industry cash. Administrators have set few limits on how much corporate money agricultural professors can accept. Faculty work with industry is governed by confidentiality rules that veil it from public view.

In certain ways, the close relationship between animal scientists and pharmaceutical companies has never served the public well. Few animal scientists have been interested in looking at what harm the livestock drugs may be causing to the cattle, the environment, or the people eating the meat. They’ve left most of that work to scientists outside of agriculture, consumer groups, and others who take interest.

But with the introduction of Zilmax, the situation may have reached a tipping point. Critics say some academic animal scientists have become so closely tied to the drug companies that they may be working more in the companies’ interests than in those of farmers and ranchers—the very groups that land-grant universities were created to serve.

Substitute patient for beef cattle and psychiatrist/primary care physician for animal scientist and voila! Patients growing enormous and iatrogenically ill and diseased on second generation antipsychotics, and their physicians so entangled with pharma and medical device industries that they fail to serve patients’ interests.

The Chronicle of Higher Education isn’t usually where I find in depth whistle-blower investigative reporting.  Read the entire article.  It will (or should) make your hair stand on end.

Ethics and malfeasance, anyone?

Social contract. In pieces.


TNTC in the healthcare trade refers to too numerous to count, often referring to types of cells on a slide.

I’ve been reading all sorts of studies and reports and have managed to keep TNTC tabs open.  I’m not able to concentrate well enough to put them into much of an interesting and pertinent context, so here they are, more or less in list form.  Perhaps another day the noggin will be more willing to oblige in the coherence and cogitation departments….

Kaiser Health News (an excellent resource) reports on states cutting mental health budgets concurrent with need and use increases.

Despite the sketchy, COI (conflict of interest) riddled authors, this is an interesting review.

This review summarizes the phenomenon of adult hippocampal neurogenesis, the initial and continued evidence leading to the development of the neurogenesis hypothesis of depression, and the recent studies that have disputed and/or qualified those findings, to conclude that it can be affected by stress and antidepressants under certain conditions, but that these effects do not appear in all cases of psychological stress, depression, and antidepressant treatment.

This study refers to people who committed suicide as “depressed suicides”.  Ahem, authors, suicide is a verb and not a noun to be used to pathologize a person as an act. I included it because it found credible evidence of neuroinflammation in people who were diagnosed prior to their deaths with severe depression. (I’ve been eating an anti-inflammatory diet which has provided some health benefits, but to date, has not mitigated depression or PTSD.  However, my labs are golden.  Whoopee.)

These results provide the first evidence of altered cortical astrocytic morphology in mood disorders. The presence of hypertrophic astrocytes in BA24 white matter is consistent with reports suggesting white matter alterations in depression, and provides further support to the neuroinflammatory theory of depression.

Shotgun ’em. This study looked at the outcomes of people who were prescribed antipsychotic medications for anxiety. Except for the adverse effects, not much good happened. Lesson: don’t let this happen to you.

Lithium has a reputation for lowering the suicide rate. When it was stacked up next to valproate, not so much.

Despite the high frequency of suicide events during the study, this randomized controlled trial detected no difference between lithium and valproate in time to suicide attempt or suicide event in a sample of suicide attempters with bipolar disorder.

Australian national youth suicide prevention strategy didn’t affect the suicide rate – just like every other prevention strategy globally.

Yet another suicide rating scale – this time it’s the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale C-SSRS. It’s apparently reliable for suicidality but not for actual attempts. Kindling effect, people. Keep asking questions which demand extensive detailed thought about planning, the method, the needed resources and the desire, and hey – look at this bright shiny object – the biggest risk factor for suicide is prior attempts. Practice and rehearsal (mental as well as physical) makes perfect. Still conflating assessment with treatment with iatrogenically lethal result.

I’m stopping here, although there are many, many more links to go.