Monday, March 21, 2005

Snake Oil Merchants Messing with the Mind

"With the market for drugs such as Prozac and Ritalin hitting nearly $50bn a year, experimenters are flush with funds."

"A mechanical view of brain function says a chemical imbalance at nerve junctions causes the blues. Simple as that. So plug the gap with another chemical like Prozac. But experiments by Steven Rose, director of the brain and biology research group at the Open University showed that people working under stress, such as a group of nurses, had the same neurochemical profile as the depressed while feeling perfectly cheerful. Thus there was no simple chain of cause and effect linking events on the cellular and the psychological level.

"This complexity moves Rose to dismiss much of the current wide-eyed enthusiasm for what he calls "snake oil."


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