Mind the Brain

Power Poseur: The lure of lucrative pseudoscience and the crisis of untrustworthiness of psychology

This is the second of two segments of Mind the Brain aimed at redirecting the conversation concerning power posing to the importance of conflicts of interest in promoting and protecting its scientific status.  The market value of many lines of products offered to consumers depends on their claims of being “science-based”. Products from psychologists that … Continue reading "Power Poseur: The lure of lucrative pseudoscience and the crisis of untrustworthiness of psychology"

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"

Why PhD students should not evaluate a psychotherapy for their dissertation project

Things some clinical and health psychology students wish they had known before they committed themselves to evaluating a psychotherapy for their dissertation study. A well designed pilot study addressing feasibility and acceptability issues in conducting and evaluating psychotherapies is preferable to an underpowered study which won’t provide a valid estimate of the efficacy of the … Continue reading "Why PhD students should not evaluate a psychotherapy for their dissertation project"

COBRA study would have shown homeopathy can be substituted for cognitive behavior therapy for depression

If The Lancet COBRA study had evaluated homeopathy rather than behavioural activation (BA), homeopathy would likely have similarly been found “non-inferior” to cognitive behavior therapy. This is not an argument for treating depression with homeopathy, but an argument that the 14 talented authors of The Lancet COBRA study stacked the deck for their conclusion that … Continue reading "COBRA study would have shown homeopathy can be substituted for cognitive behavior therapy for depression"

A skeptical look at The Lancet behavioural activation versus CBT for depression (COBRA) study

A skeptical look at: Richards DA, Ekers D, McMillan D, Taylor RS, Byford S, Warren FC, Barrett B, Farrand PA, Gilbody S, Kuyken W, O’Mahen H. et al. Cost and Outcome of Behavioural Activation versus Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Depression (COBRA): a randomised, controlled, non-inferiority trial. The Lancet. 2016 Jul 23.   All the Queen’s … Continue reading "A skeptical look at The Lancet behavioural activation versus CBT for depression (COBRA) study"

Trusted source? The Conversation tells migraine sufferers that child abuse may be at the root of their problems

Patients and family members face a challenge obtaining credible, evidence-based information about health conditions from the web. Migraine sufferers have a particularly acute need because their condition is often inadequately self-managed without access to best available treatment approaches. Demoralized by the failure of past efforts to get relief, some sufferers may give up consulting professionals … Continue reading "Trusted source? The Conversation tells migraine sufferers that child abuse may be at the root of their problems"

Mindfulness research’s huge problem with uninformative control groups

Are enthusiasts protecting cherished beliefs about the power of mindfulness from disconfirmation? Do any advantages of mindfulness training disappear in a fairly matched cage fight with a treatment of comparable frequency and intensity? Very few of the 1000s of articles retrieved in a literature search with the keyword “mindfulness” represent advances in the limited evidence … Continue reading "Mindfulness research’s huge problem with uninformative control groups"

Hans Eysenck’s contribution to cognitive behavioral therapy for physical health problems: fraudulent data

The centenary of the birth of Hans Eysenck is being marked by honoring his role in bringing clinical psychology to the UK and pioneering cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). There is largely silence about his publishing fraudulent data, editorial misconduct, and substantial undeclared conflicts of interest. The articles in which Eysenck used fraudulent data are no … Continue reading "Hans Eysenck’s contribution to cognitive behavioral therapy for physical health problems: fraudulent data"

Mindfulness-based stress reduction versus cognitive behavior therapy for chronic back pain

The most interesting things to be learned from a recent clinical trial of mindfulness-based stress reduction to cognitive behavior therapy for chronic back pain are not what the authors intend. Noticing that some key information is missing from the study illustrates why we don’t need more studies like it. We need more studies of mindfulness-based … Continue reading "Mindfulness-based stress reduction versus cognitive behavior therapy for chronic back pain"

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"

Was independent peer review of the PACE trial articles possible?

I ponder this question guided by Le Chavalier C. Auguste Dupin, the first fictional detective, before anyone was called “detective.” Articles reporting the PACE trial have extraordinary numbers of authors, acknowledgments, and institutional affiliations. A considerable proportion of all persons and institutions involved in researching chronic fatigue and related conditions in the UK have a … Continue reading "Was independent peer review of the PACE trial articles possible?"