Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Commercialisation of precision psychiatry

I sent 7 tweets yesterday in response to a tweet from @PariantSPILab (who I have mentioned previously eg. see post) about a Financial Times article. Apart from several likes and a couple of retweets, I received only one answer from @Truthman30. Am I being marginalised?

The article at least says that "precision psychiatry remains largely in the research phases". But, it quotes Professor Leanne Williams as promoting Spring Health, which says it has a research group that has had several papers published in leading medical journals, starting with one in Lancet Psychiatry in 2016. A Lancet Psychiatry article, published in April 2017, has a lead author who declares that he holds equity in Spring Health. I'm not sure how much Spring Health charges employers for its services provided through health insurance plans.

I've commented before on an article by Leanne Williams (see post), which I think must be the 2016 article referred to by Spring Health. I've no idea what the evidence is referred to in the Financial Times article about venlafaxine only working for certain gene types. I'd never heard of Thalia Eley's attempts to develop "therapy genetics”.

I can understand Leanne Williams wanting more money to fund her research but it does need to be tempered with realism. She says it's "bordering on negligence to not be using a [precision approach to depression care] now". Actually, it's not justifiable clinically to say that everyone needs brains scans and DNA tests for mental health problems, which is how the article headline is framed.

What we need is a truly personalised medicine and psychiatry, not what's called individualised or precision medicine, which is actually commercialising mental health care not making it more personal (see previous post). Psychiatric research has lost its way (see another previous post). We need to accept the uncertainty of psychiatric practice and medicine in general, rather than promote "precision medicine" as the solution to mental disorders (see another post). Actually what we need is proper precision thinking in psychiatry, not the speculation being promoted (see post).


Rob Purssey said...

Leanne Williams has financial interests in many IT and other programs connected to "precision psychiatry" - search her, Evian Gordon, and note her frequent collaborators eg Charles B Nemeroff, Alan F Schatzberg and others. Illuminating. Clear conflict but not discloses as papers often "theoretical" and not DIRECTLY product related. See also www.brainresource.com/ispot.html and have a good look around 1boringoldman archives. Depressing stuff, and deeply penetrative of journals, media etc

Anonymous said...

Well thank goodness they are not all ignoring your blog Duncan. Who apart fromthose who are keeping quiet would have known of all those self interests if Rob P had not responded to your latest.