Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Friday, January 04, 2008

And this just in . . .

Via The Prescription Project, this link to a U.S. News and World Report article on the upcoming DSM-V: Who's Behind the Bible of Mental Illness. A taste:

By Kent Garber

In what is arguably the most important mental-health development since the early 1990s, the American Psychiatric Association will spend the next five years producing a new edition of the psychiatrist's "bible," the official guidebook for diagnosing mental problems. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, as it is known, is hugely influential because it determines what is and is not a mental disorder. In turn, it is responsible for much of the sales growth in prescription drugs.

The most recent edition of the DSM, published in 1994, drew controversy because it turned what had once been a thin guidebook into an 886-page tome that significantly expanded the definition of mental illness. Traits once associated with shyness, for example, became symptoms of "social anxiety disorder." And drug companies went on to spend millions promoting medicines for those problems. Eyebrows were further raised in 2006 when a study showed that more than half of the researchers who worked on the manual had at least one financial tie to the drug industry.

This time around, pledging to avoid even the appearance of conflicts, the APA has instituted screening procedures for the 27 members of its DSM task force, asking them for detailed financial information about stocks, honoraria, and consulting fees from drug interests. It calls the effort the "most transparent" in the medical industry. Yet the summaries of the disclosure statements that were recently released to the public are remarkably spare; they show only the existence of corporate connections, not their dollar amount or their duration.

Read on . . .


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