Mind the Brain

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"

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"

Getting realistic about changing the direction of suicide prevention research

A recent JAMA: Psychiatry article makes some important points about the difficulties addressing suicide as a public health problem before sliding into the authors’ promotion of their personal agendas. Christensen H, Cuijpers P, Reynolds CF. Changing the Direction of Suicide Prevention Research: A Necessity for True Population Impact. JAMA Psychiatry. 2016. This issue of Mind … Continue reading "Getting realistic about changing the direction of suicide prevention research"

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?"

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"