Monday, October 02, 2006

Changing Minds: Area 25

I saw this piece on 60 minutes. It struck me as another expensive partial treatment, like vagus nerve stimulation and transcranial magnetic stimulation. When these genies get out of the box they will probably proliferate in our market economy and who knows how many desperate people will seek them out. Even without doubting that they provide significant help for a core group of people, in the way that pre-frontal lobotomy did [according to Jack Pressman's account], they are likely to be advocated and sought after for many other desperate people. Having researched the history of treatments for General Paresis of the Insane, I am reminded of the many invasive and problematic partial treatments that were advocated for it before penicillin was found to kill the organism that caused the disease....And then I happened to watch a 1966 documentary called Schizophernia: the Broken Mirror, produced by the NIH, where we were shown schizophrenics being given deep brain stimulation with electrodes and encouraged to think that the cure for schizophrenia was around the corner. Around and around it would seem.

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