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Father of Schizophrenia Victim asks: “Our house is on fire,and you are talking about the chemistry of the paint?”

JBG

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Today's New York Times featured an article (link, excerpts below) about Dr. Thomas P. Insel, who for 13 years ran the National Institute of Mental Health. He presided of the sharp shift in focus of the National Institute of Mental Health away from behavioral research and toward neuroscience and genetics. In an interview for the article, he conceded that little of this has helped patients.
New York Times said:
A new book by Dr. Thomas P. Insel, who for 13 years ran the United States’ foremost mental health research institution, begins with a sort of confession.

During his tenure as the “nation’s psychiatrist,” he helped allocate $20 billion in federal funds and sharply shifted the focus of the National Institute of Mental Health away from behavioral research and toward neuroscience and genetics.

************

In the book, he describes an “epiphany” during his last year at N.I.M.H., after he had delivered a PowerPoint presentation to a group of advocates, touting researchers’ progress on genetic markers.
A man in a flannel shirt got to his feet and reeled off the story of his 23-year-old son, who has schizophrenia — a cycle of hospitalizations, suicide attempts and homelessness. “Our house is on fire,” the man said, “and you are talking about the chemistry of the paint. What are you doing to put out this fire?”
“In that moment, I knew he was right,” Dr. Insel writes. “Nothing my colleagues and I were doing addressed the ever-increasing urgency or magnitude of the suffering millions of Americans were living through — and dying from.”
In fall 1975 I took Psych 101 from Professor James Maas at Cornell. We were given many lectures about "scientific research" in psychology. In the nature of full disclosure I did not do well in the course. But I distinctly remember feeling that little or nothing that we learned remotely concerned helping any person in any way.
I feel that way now, so this article/interview did not surprise me. Is anyone surprised?
 

justabubba

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Today's New York Times featured an article (link, excerpts below) about Dr. Thomas P. Insel, who for 13 years ran the National Institute of Mental Health. He presided of the sharp shift in focus of the National Institute of Mental Health away from behavioral research and toward neuroscience and genetics. In an interview for the article, he conceded that little of this has helped patients.

In fall 1975 I took Psych 101 from Professor James Maas at Cornell. We were given many lectures about "scientific research" in psychology. In the nature of full disclosure I did not do well in the course. But I distinctly remember feeling that little or nothing that we learned remotely concerned helping any person in any way.
I feel that way now, so this article/interview did not surprise me. Is anyone surprised?
allocation of limited resources
and the organization's leader (at one time) sought to move research in the direction of genetics and neuroscience
seems a considered decision

a short generation ago medical funds were spent to advance the genome project, monies that could have instead gone to underwrite efforts such as attempting to heal cancer victims

given the advances now ongoing as a result of the genome project, it might be found that the allocation was appropriate. but likely not so much by the family/friends of the cancer victims who were denied assistance as the funding was dedicated to the genome project
 

JBG

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What rankles me about this research is that there is no accountability for government-funded research dollars. There is no incentive for it to benefit anyone but the researcher and his or her pet interest.
 

DarkWizard12

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Today's New York Times featured an article (link, excerpts below) about Dr. Thomas P. Insel, who for 13 years ran the National Institute of Mental Health. He presided of the sharp shift in focus of the National Institute of Mental Health away from behavioral research and toward neuroscience and genetics. In an interview for the article, he conceded that little of this has helped patients.

In fall 1975 I took Psych 101 from Professor James Maas at Cornell. We were given many lectures about "scientific research" in psychology. In the nature of full disclosure I did not do well in the course. But I distinctly remember feeling that little or nothing that we learned remotely concerned helping any person in any way.
I feel that way now, so this article/interview did not surprise me. Is anyone surprised?
honestly, that's every institution these days

"everything you own is made in china, you're mistreated at work, and you're tired of wearing a mask? aww *smug elitist laugh* let me tell you about ukraine and putin, such an evil man doncha know? Haven't you ever heard of nordstream? oh!" *smiles smugly and smuglier*
 

TypicalRussian

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schizophrenia is genuinely scary
 

ataraxia

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Today's New York Times featured an article (link, excerpts below) about Dr. Thomas P. Insel, who for 13 years ran the National Institute of Mental Health. He presided of the sharp shift in focus of the National Institute of Mental Health away from behavioral research and toward neuroscience and genetics. In an interview for the article, he conceded that little of this has helped patients.

In fall 1975 I took Psych 101 from Professor James Maas at Cornell. We were given many lectures about "scientific research" in psychology. In the nature of full disclosure I did not do well in the course. But I distinctly remember feeling that little or nothing that we learned remotely concerned helping any person in any way.
I feel that way now, so this article/interview did not surprise me. Is anyone surprised?

I don't know all the details of how these research dollars are getting allocated, but it seems right that to really attack a disease like schizophrenia at its roots, it OK to concentrate on its chemistry and genetics. All of what we understand about this disease so far really seems to point towards a chemical/genetic problem (it used to be back in the 1950s it was blamed on bad moms- a claim that has since been clearly debunked).

Because even for houses on fire, it helps to have the chemistry of fire-retardant paint. Those who scoff at looking at such diseases in such a fundamental way are people who do not really appreciate the power of chemistry or genetics.
 
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