Mind the Brain

How to get a flawed systematic review and meta-analysis withdrawn from publication: a detailed example

Cochrane normally requires authors to agree to withdraw completed reviews that have been published. This withdrawal in the face of resistance from the authors is extraordinary. There is a lot to be learned from this letter and the accompanying documents in terms of Courtney calmly and methodically laying out a compelling case for withdrawal of a review with important clinical practice and policy implications.

The lost last year of one of the key two people in getting the Cochrane review of exercise withdrawn

Did the struggle to get the Cochrane review withdrawn kill Robert Courtney? Or the denial of his basic human rights by the medical system?

Danish RCT of cognitive behavior therapy for whatever ails your physician about you

I was asked by a Danish journalist to examine a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for functional somatic symptoms. I had not previously given the study a close look. I was dismayed by how highly problematic the study was in so many ways. I doubted that the results of the study … Continue reading "Danish RCT of cognitive behavior therapy for whatever ails your physician about you"

Relaxing vs Stimulating Acupressure for Fatigue Among Breast Cancer Patients: Lessons to be Learned

A chance to test your rules of thumb for quickly evaluating clinical trials of alternative or integrative  medicine in prestigious journals. A chance to increase your understanding of the importance of  well-defined control groups and blinding in evaluating the risk of bias of clinical trials. A chance to understand the difference between merely evidence-based treatments … Continue reading "Relaxing vs Stimulating Acupressure for Fatigue Among Breast Cancer Patients: Lessons to be Learned"

Effect of a missing clinical trial on what we think about cognitive behavior therapy

Data collection for a large, well-resourced study of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for psychosis was completed years ago, but the study remains unpublished. Its results could influence the overall evaluation of CBT versus alternative treatments if integrated with what is already known. Political considerations can determine whether completed psychotherapy studies get published or remain lost. … Continue reading "Effect of a missing clinical trial on what we think about cognitive behavior therapy"

Why the scientific community needs the PACE trial data to be released

University and clinical trial investigators must release data to a citizen-scientist patient, according to a landmark decision in the UK. But the decision could still be overturned if the University and investigators appeal. The scientific community needs the decision to be upheld. I’ll argue that it’s unwise for any appeal to be made. The reasons … Continue reading "Why the scientific community needs the PACE trial data to be released"

Consistently poor coverage of mental health issues in The Guardian

Issuing a readers’ advisory: The Guardian provides misleading, badly skewed coverage of mental health issues vitally important to mental health service users. Stories in The Guardian can confuse and disempower mental health service users seeking information for difficult decisions about choosing and sticking to treatments. Articles labeled Psychology and Health and sometimes Science don’t adhere … Continue reading "Consistently poor coverage of mental health issues in The Guardian"

BMC Medicine gets caught up in Triple P Parenting promoters’ war on critics and null findings

Undeclared conflicts of interest constitute scientific misconduct. Why we should be as concerned about conflicts of interest in evaluations of nonpharmacological treatments, like psychotherapy. Whack! Triple P promoters (3P) Cassandra L Tellegen and Kate Sofronoff struck again against critics and null findings, this time in BMC Medicine. As usual, there was an undisclosed financial conflict … Continue reading "BMC Medicine gets caught up in Triple P Parenting promoters’ war on critics and null findings"

Positive psychology interventions for depressive symptoms

I recently  talked with a junior psychiatrist about whether she should undertake a randomized trial of positive psychology interventions with depressed primary care patients. I had concerns about whether positive psychology interventions would be acceptable to clinically depressed primary care patients or offputting and even detrimental. Going back to my first publication almost 40 years … Continue reading "Positive psychology interventions for depressive symptoms"