Sunday, February 23, 2014

Misdirecting mental health research

Cynthia Joyce, the chief executive of MQ: Transforming Mental Health (see previous post), in her post on the Wellcome Trust blog, does not doubt that the reason biomarkers for depression have not been found is because of the "complexity of the disorder as well as a deficiency of tools and technologies to help solve the problem". Oh dear, she thinks biobehavioural combinations of psychological symptoms and body fluid measures is the answer. The reason elevated morning cortisol isn't a biomarker, she reckons, could be because we haven't combined it with high depressive symptoms as a risk factor for major depression, at least for adolescent boys.

Don't waste your money giving MQ the opportunity to follow another blind alley, which if it's being responsible, it shouldn't have misled you into.

(With thanks to Peter Kinderman)

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Overemphasis on the importance of psychiatric diagnosis

Craddock & Mynors-Wallis make the case for psychiatric diagnosis in a BJPsych editorial, although I'm not sure why they think its importance is increasing rather than decreasing. I don't want to overemphasise the difference between psychiatric and medical diagnosis, but, despite what they say, there is a difference. I know they're waiting for specific tests "to confirm or refute diagnoses based on clinical assessment" but this is pie in the sky. See my article The overemphasis on biomedical diagnosis in psychiatry.