Mind the Brain

Headspace mindfulness training app no better than a fake mindfulness procedure for improving critical thinking, open-mindedness, and well-being.

The Headspace app increased users’ critical thinking and being open-minded. So did practicing a shame mindfulness procedure- participants simply sat with their eyes closed, but thought they were meditating.

Creating illusions of wondrous effects of yoga and meditation on health: A skeptic exposes tricks

The tour of the sausage factory is starting, here’s your brochure telling you’ll see.   A recent review has received a lot of attention with it being used for claims that mind-body interventions have distinct molecular signatures that point to potentially dramatic health benefits for those who take up these practices. What Is the Molecular … Continue reading "Creating illusions of wondrous effects of yoga and meditation on health: A skeptic exposes tricks"

Before you enroll your child in the MAGENTA chronic fatigue syndrome study: Issues to be considered

[October 3 8:23 AM Update: I have now inserted Article 21 of the Declaration of Helsinki below, which is particularly relevant to discussions of the ethical problems of Dr. Esther Crawley’s previous SMILE trial.] Petitions are calling for shutting down the MAGENTA trial. Those who organized the effort and signed the petition are commendably brave, … Continue reading "Before you enroll your child in the MAGENTA chronic fatigue syndrome study: Issues to be considered"

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"

Study protocol violations, outcomes switching, adverse events misreporting: A peek under the hood

An extraordinary, must-read article is now available open access: Jureidini, JN, Amsterdam, JD, McHenry, LB. The citalopram CIT-MD-18 pediatric depression trial: Deconstruction of medical ghostwriting, data mischaracterisation and academic malfeasance. International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 33-43, 2016 The authors had access to internal documents written with the … Continue reading "Study protocol violations, outcomes switching, adverse events misreporting: A peek under the hood"

Deep Brain Stimulation: Unproven treatment promoted with a conflict of interest in JAMA: Psychiatry [again]

“Even with our noisy ways and cattle prods in the brain, we have to take care of sick people, now,” – Helen Mayberg “All of us—researchers, journalists, patients and their loved ones–are desperate for genuine progress in treatments for severe mental illness. But if the history of such treatments teaches us anything, it is that … Continue reading "Deep Brain Stimulation: Unproven treatment promoted with a conflict of interest in JAMA: Psychiatry [again]"

Remission of suicidal ideation by magnetic seizure therapy? Neuro-nonsense in JAMA: Psychiatry

A recent article in JAMA: Psychiatry: Sun Y, Farzan F, Mulsant BH, Rajji TK, Fitzgerald PB, Barr MS, Downar J, Wong W, Blumberger DM, Daskalakis ZJ. Indicators for remission of suicidal ideation following magnetic seizure therapy in patients with treatment-resistant depression. JAMA Psychiatry. 2016 Mar 16. Was accompanied by an editorial commentary: Camprodon JA, Pascual-Leone … Continue reading "Remission of suicidal ideation by magnetic seizure therapy? Neuro-nonsense in JAMA: Psychiatry"

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"

Stalking a Cheshire cat: Figuring out what happened in a psychotherapy intervention trial

John Ioannidis, the “scourge of sloppy science”  has documented again and again that the safeguards being introduced into the biomedical literature against untrustworthy findings are usually ineffective. In Ioannidis’ most recent report , his group: …Assessed the current status of reproducibility and transparency addressing these indicators in a random sample of 441 biomedical journal articles … Continue reading "Stalking a Cheshire cat: Figuring out what happened in a psychotherapy intervention trial"

Amazingly spun mindfulness trial in British Journal of Psychiatry: How to publish a null trial

Since when is “mindfulness therapy is not inferior to routine primary care” newsworthy?   Spinning makes null results a virtue to be celebrated…and publishable. An article reporting a RCT of group mindfulness therapy Sundquist, J., Lilja, Å., Palmér, K., Memon, A. A., Wang, X., Johansson, L. M., & Sundquist, K. (2014). Mindfulness group therapy in … Continue reading "Amazingly spun mindfulness trial in British Journal of Psychiatry: How to publish a null trial"