. . . and it's not their genes either. – Dr. C

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The Sugar Lie

GUM DROPS

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED @ BESTTHINKING.COM – DECEMBER 2012

Dr. Dean Edell started his radio broadcast in 1978. His common sense and clear answers earned him the accolades of millions of Americans. Dr. Dean retired in 2010. “No nonsense, no BS, no medi-babble” could have been his motto. Enjoy your retirement, Dr. Dean.

I was listening to him in the late seventies and early eighties when he would periodically tell his listeners there was no such thing as a sugar high. More than that, he implored his audience to pass this information around to others. I was surprised. How, I asked myself, could Dr. Dean be so wrong about this, and so right about most everything else?

At the time my wife and I were living with 8 boys ages 12-17 years old in a group home. They were active. We got them up in the morning, readied them for school, greeted them after school, helped them with chores, ate dinner with them, helped them with homework, and got them to bed. As professionals, and as surrogate parents, we stopped giving them sweets because we knew sweets added to their already too active behaviors, and we cared about these kids.

We knew about the behavioral power of sugar because we heard it from all of our sources at the time including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, therapists, teachers, teacher’s aides and other parents. My wife and I were parents with young children at the time. Like our friends and family who had young children, we all knew about the “sugar high,” the “sugar rush,” and, though less well known, the “sugar crash” – that’s what happens when sugar is depleted and all of the child’s energy is spent. The child “crashes.” We were informed parents and, as knowledgable child behaviorists, we were compelled to educate colleagues and the general public whenever we could.

Dr. Dean ruined all of that.

I did some homework, which was a lot more difficult back then. The internet wasn’t born yet. I was working towards my Master’s degree at Cal State Fullerton and I had access to their library. I used to study there before class, and from time to time I would research this question. To my utter dismay, I found out Dr. Dean was right. Conclusive. No kidding. No doubt. There was – and still is – no scientific evidence anywhere to support the idea that sugar has anything to do with increased activity – child or adult. There is no “high,” there is no “rush,” there is no “crash” either, even though those terms were so much part of our culture back then and, most distressing, still are.

I succumbed to this truth. I quickly converted, cleansed myself, and became a disciple. I felt obligated to pass this information on to friends, family and colleagues, as Dr. Dean suggested. Together we could help kill this myth, and get on with the task of helping children.

Not so fast there buddy. When I would tell people there’s no such thing as a sugar high, many would get mad at me, and the rest would ridicule me – as if I needed to modernize my thoughts. The same psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, therapists, teachers, teacher’s aides – and nearly all parents – refused to listen to this. This is still true, and it’s 2011.

Well informed mothers, fathers, caretakers and professionals are quick to point out they have watched children’s behavior become “manic” when too much sugar enters their blood streams. They’ve witnessed what is clearly a physiological effect with their own eyes and, way too often, their own ears. It’s obvious to anyone, they say without hesitation. Too much sugar “hypes” kids. So obvious that many parents dread birthday parties, Christmas cookies and, God-forbid, Halloween.

The simple reply is, respectfully, no, you didn’t see what you said you saw. You may have seen your child’s activity increase, but it didn’t have anything to do with sugar. You get madder still.

So, nowadays, in the 21st Century, I refer everyone to their own encyclopedia, the world wide web. Please, when you have an extra 20 minutes, take the time to Google, Yahoo, or Bing “sugar high” or “sugar rush.” See what you find. In the meantime, here are excerpts from five different sites I selected – there are many more – with their web addresses:

From The Straight Dope: In 1995 the Journal of the American Medical Association published a review of 23 comparatively rigorous studies conducted between 1982 and 1994. These were your classic controlled double-blind affairs: two groups of kids, one fed a bunch of sugar, the other given a placebo (i.e., artificial sweetener), everyone kept sufficiently in the dark as to who’d gotten what, etc. The results? No discernible relationship between sugar ingested and how the kids acted. It didn’t matter how old they were, how much sugar they got, what their diets were like otherwise — nothing. The JAMA authors stopped shy of drawing any definitive conclusions, but if there were a legitimate sugar-high effect out there, you’d like to see it turn up in the lab every so often.(http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2747/does-giving-sweets-to-kids-produce-a-sugar-rush)

From a nutritionist in Hawaii: It is not unusual, due to the misinformation that abounds out there in the public media (books, magazines, newspapers, word-of-mouth testimonials), to think that a ‘sugar high’ is a real thing. In some of the research that I have done with adolescents (almost 200 of them, at one time), we fed the boys as much sugar as we could cram into a breakfast, and not a one had a hormonal profile that suggested hypoglycemia; and, none of them experienced anything resembling a ‘sugar high.’ In fact, if you follow the biochemical pathway of sugar (glucose or sucrose) in the body, what it predicts is a calming effect of sugar, providing nothing else is eaten at the same time.(http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/2000-01/947564807.Me.r.html)

From a Yahoo source on Health and Wellness: Here’s the big news. The scientific research that has been conducted not only finds no direct correlation between hyperactive activity and sugar, but actually has produced evidence that sugar may well have a palliative effect.(http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/515073 sugar_high_myth_or_reality_pg2.html?cat=5)

From a mother, at Daily Dose of Common Sense: My daughter had a birthday yesterday, and I had several well-wishers ask if she was bouncing off the walls because of sugar. Well, no, actually she was no more hyper yesterday than any other day. Yes, she ate a cupcake, Cracker Jack, Nerds, and a bunch of other junk, but she’s a healthy kid. That, and there’s no such thing as a “sugar high.” I know, it takes a second for it to sink in. We have been led to believe that sugar makes people (especially kids) hyper. But, it’s just not true. Our bodies do a really good job of regulating the sugar we intake. Many studies have been done on this topic and the conclusions are the same: the amount of sugar that a kid eats does not affect his or her level of activity. Jessie from Rational Moms did a great in-depth debunking of the sugar high myth. I highly recommend giving it a read. So, don’t worry about your kids being up all night after eating a bunch of sugar. They’re up late because they want to be up late. Duh. (http://www.dailydoseofcommonsense.com/2009/07/22/the-sugar-high-myth/)

Finally, and maybe you should go here first, this from Rational Moms: Even confronted with this evidence it can be difficult to believe. I’ve heard people grudgingly accept that it may not cause hyperactivity in children but insist that it causes rapid spikes and falls in blood sugar levels which create the feeling of the “Sugar Rush” and the “Sugar Crash.” . . . In this study all mothers identified their children as “sugar sensitive”. All the children were given a placebo (aspartame) but half of the mothers were told that their child was given a large amount of sugar. The mothers who thought their child was given sugar tended to stay physically closer to their child, criticized, looked at and talked to their children more then the parents who knew their children had the placebo. The mothers who thought their children ate sugar also rated their children as significantly more hyperactive than the control group.(http://www.rationalmoms.com/2008/12/01/the-myth-of-the-%E2%80%9Csugar-high%E2%80%9D/)

So, you’ve read the excerpts. More important, I hope you took some time to research this on your own. Good. Now you know for sure – a certainty – that there is no physiological sugar high, rush, or crash in human beings, and that includes little human beings. Not because I said it, or Dr. Dean said it, or those others you read on the web said it. But because, now, you say it. When it comes to behavior the unequivocal answer is no, children aren’t sugar sensitive, there isn’t a sugar high, a sugar rush, or a sugar crash – and there isn’t any wiggle room.

Why is this important? For a few reasons.

One. You and I – and everyone else convinced at one time or another that too much sugar causes children to be hyperactive – are mistaken. That includes your doctor, psychiatrist, teacher, aide, school psychologist, therapist, social worker, and any other professional you’ve relied on to make sure you are accurately informed.

Two. We become frantic when our children eat too much sugar, especially at the wrong time. Sometimes we even chastise the child because he – and it’s almost always he – doesn’t monitor his own sugar intake. After all, he should know by now that he has “ADHD” or an “imbalance” or “sensitivity” of some kind. He is, in a word, sick, and we’re just being cautious about his “condition.” We now know – you and I – this was never true. (By the way, maybe you know someone who has a very bright, 14 year old boy who has said on more than one occasion: “Sorry mom. I know I got hyper last night! I couldn’t stop! OK, OK, you were right! I had too much candy! Sorrreeeee!” Now you know for sure – and so does the 14 year old boy – it’s not the candy.)

Three. We can no longer place responsibility for a child’s behavior on this chemical because of a flaw in his body that was never there in the first place. This idea is going to become very important in Part II.

Four. We both now know our beliefs – even strong, heartfelt beliefs based on our care, our concern and our professional consultation – can alter our perceptions. Whoops, our bad. We need to make up for our mistake, and apologize to our children. You can still say he’s “too active,” however, you at least know now to eliminate sugar as a cause.

What’s the big deal? Is it really that harmful – this false truth about children that we’ve kept alive for way too long? My goodness, parents are educated to believe their child is sensitive to sugar in the way a diabetic is sensitive to sugar. A range of informed professionals explain to parents in convincing detail – usually something about brain chemicals – that their child may be “sugar-sensitive,” or worse, may have a “psychological disease.”

And what do conscientious parents do with this information? They seek out a doctor for their child’s medical condition. The doctor tells parents to monitor the child’s sugar intake, that much is obvious, and that maybe your child should take some medicine – usually Adderall or Ritalin or some other amphetamine – and your child’s disease is treated. Never fixed or cured – there are no fixes or cures available from these doctors – but medically treated.

Here’s an idea, if you have the gumption. The next time you have the opportunity, maybe in private, ask your child’s doctor, therapist, counselor, teacher or teacher’s aide if too much sugar causes children to engage in too much activity. If the teacher tells you it does, correct this common, misguided, and harmful answer. If the therapist persists, share your information and ask that it be checked out. If the doctor becomes frustrated trying to make you understand that you’re a layman, well, when you can, as politely as you think necessary, find another doctor. This one is woefully uninformed – and stuck in it – unlike you. Dr. Dean warned us decades ago that the most resistant to this information are informed professionals. Please, help them out.

Is there a physiological effect of taking in too much sugar? Sure there is. Ask anyone who substituted a pound of Sees candies or a quart of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream for their dinner. When finished with their indulgence, they yearn to nap. In fact, an abundance of sugar does have a calming effect on human physiology, especially on an empty stomach. Also, sugar is often referred to as “empty calories,” and sweets certainly add to the obesity epidemic, not to mention the part it plays in tooth decay. And, as you already know, sugar certainly has a role in diabetes. (More about psychiatry’s dastardly psychi-babble use of diabetes in Part II).

You may guess my point about this. If we could both be so wrong about what we thought was so right, then are there other “truths” that need to be revealed as myths or comfortable conventions or false science? My goodness yes. Psychiatry is the biggest offender, as you will see in the upcoming article.

Finally, fellow convert, please help. To obliterate this harmful lie – and to make it right to all those kids we falsely accused and to ensure the next generation is accurately informed – we must be bold. When you’re at the check-out stand and you hear a stranger talk about “sugar high,” with a smile, ask them to “Google it.” When you’re at your PTA meeting and parents are concerned about all those “sugar snacks” the school is giving, make sure it’s because of calories and general health, and not because “sugar hypes kids.” Keep smiling, and educate them. And the next time you have a family reunion, deliberately bring this subject up so you can get into a friendly family argument and have it settled on the internet. You’ve just done a world of good for the kids in your family, and that’s always good for a smile.

Lest I forget, you can also forward this article to your friends, family members, doctors, teachers, therapists, neighbors – everyone. It’s 21st Century information. It’s not mine. It’s not Dr. Dean’s.

Now it’s yours. Make it someone else’s.

Let’s put the sugar lie to bed – for good.

The Gene Fool

[ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED @ BESTHINKING.COM – MAY 2012]

The “Science”
Speaking in Washington at a noon briefing for congressmen, Professor William Garfield of the University of Minnesota said this:

“Despite what you hear, nobody has ever proven a single gene causes a single human behavioral trait.  Some of my colleagues believe such associations may eventually be found.  Others don’t think it will ever happen, that the interaction of genes and the environment is just too complex.  But, in any case, we see reports of new genes for this or that in the papers every day, and none of them has ever proven true in the end.”

“What are you talking about?” said the aide to Senator

Wilson.  “What about the gay gene, that causes gayness?”

“A statistical association.  Not causal.  No gene causes sexual orientation.”

“What about the violence gene?”        

“Not verified in later research.”

“A sleep gene was reported…”

“In rats.”

 “The gene for alcoholism?”

 “Didn’t hold up.”

 “What about the diabetes gene?”

“So far,” he said, “we’ve identified ninety-six genes involved in diabetes.  We’ll undoubtedly find more.”

There was a stunned silence.  Finally, one aide said, “If no gene has been shown to cause behavior, what is all the fuss about?”

Garfield shrugged.  “Call it an urban legend.  Call it a media myth.  Blame public education in science.  Because the public certainly believes that genes cause behavior.  It seems to make sense.  In reality, even hair color and height are not simple traits fixed by genes.  And conditions like alcoholism certainly aren’t.”(http://www.docmercury.com/rainy/category/to-our-shame)

The Making of a Growing Urban Legend
If you are among those who periodically declare, when talking about human behavior, that “it’s genetic,” or “it’s hereditary,” or “it’s in the gene’s,” please, my friend, be aware you are perpetuating this growing – and so far completely false – urban legend.  Heed Professor Garfield’s cautionary words.  Please stop.  You have no scientific reason to continue this growing falsehood about our behavior.

Also, please consider, “psychiatric geneticists” do the vast majority of these “studies.”  Please make room for your well-placed disdain for “modern psychiatry” to include this growing industry.  Why do they do this?  You know why.  To develop “medications” to provide “treatment” so that you will buy them to “fix” those “bad genes.”

Tell your friends, colleagues, confidants – and those you may provide services to – that so far, up to and including today, it’s all nonsense.  Help end this equally harmful, quickly growing, misguided, media-driven, lucrative psychiatric myth.

Still not convinced?  You’re insulted?  You think you know your Aunt Mildred’s genes are the reason you are “just like her?”  You are sure your son is a “chip off the old block?”  Everyone in your family drinks alcohol, or none of your family drinks alcohol, and that’s because of your genes?  More to the point, you think you’re bi-polar because your mother was bi-polar, and your sister is probably bi-polar too.  You’re asking me “what about that, wiseguy?”

How about a short story instead.

The Devil is in Those Blue Genes
In November of 2010 my wife Debbie and I were at my brother-in-law’s home in Valley Springs California.  Bob and his wife Sue are great hosts.  They live in the country and we have plenty of time to talk.  We usually bicker about something, whether it’s politics or global warming or the cycles of the moon.  It’s fun.  This night it was genetics.

As a career-long, professional opponent of “modern psychiatry” I’m skeptical of nearly everything they proclaim, and that includes their newest moneymaking escapade: “psychiatric genetics.”

“There’s a gene for everything,” one of us said.  “Google it,” someone else said, so I did, on my very smart Smartphone.  And that’s how it started.  Someone would think of a human trait, condition, emotion – anything – and I would insert that word and add “gene.” For example, someone said “depression” so I googled “depression gene” and looked at the hits. You know how this works.  I’d pick the most recent article or website, open it, and read the first few paragraphs, and add it to the list. Running out of ideas, we’d try anything.  Someone yelled out “fairness!”  Just as quickly, someone else said: “Fairness!? Oh come on! Fairness can’t be in a gene!”

Apparently, it can.

There it was.  The “fairness gene.” Soon to follow were the genes for God (not kidding), divorce, caffeine, hate – well, you won’t believe some of them.  The truth – and the point of this essay – is you really have no reason to believe any of them.  I’ll tell you this now:  none on the list that follows has proven to be true. None of them.  Not even the ones you think mustbe true.  To use the Professor’s words, the “evidence” for all of these studies “didn’t hold up.”

By the way, these aren’t quacks or kooks, should you think so.  As you’ll see, most of these “studies” were conducted at major universities around the world.  I name the names of otherwise reputable “scientists.” You’ll be impressed by their credentials.  And, if you’ll excuse a cynical watchfulness for some watchful cynics out there, when you skim an article, keep an eye out for the connection to a big pharmaceutical company.  You will likely find it.

We came up with 33 “behavior” genes that night.  I later added 18 more I found on the internet, and just recently I added 17 more, for a current total of 68. With your help, I think we can improve on that number – by increasing it.

FOUND ANOTHER ONE!!
I’m now a collector.  As you go about your business and you run across the newest genetic “discovery,” please leave me a link in the comment section, and use FOUND ANOTHER ONE! in the Title box.  Don’t be shy.  More than one in the same category is great, as long as they don’t point to the same study.  There are 68 so far.  I expect the list to grow and, if you wish (let me know), I will fully attribute your contribution to The Urban Legend List of Genes.

Here’s the list, as of May, 2012 (and please be sure read Professor Garfield’s comments at the end of the list – and the Epilogue).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

THE URBAN LEGEND (Growing) LIST OF GENES
To follow are recent genetic “discoveries,” “studies,” “links,” “might-be’s,” “identifieds,” “beliefs,” “finds,” and “suggesteds.” I included dates, information sources, introductory remarks, names of scientists, schools, and scientific sources wherever possible – plus a link for you to see the entire article too. The Summary first, then The Details:

The Summary: June, 2012

  1. ADHD
  2. ADHD II *
  3. AGGRESSION
  4. ALCOHOLISM
  5. ALCOHOLISM II
  6. ALZHEIMER’S
  7. AMISH (HEART DISEASE)
  8. ANOREXIA NERVOSA
  9. ANXIETY
  10. ANXIETY AND SWEETS
  11. ART & SCHIZOPHRENIA *
  12. AUTISM
  13. AUTISM II
  14. AUTISM III
  15. BAD DRIVING
  16. BEDWETTING
  17. BI-POLAR
  18. CAFFEINE
  19. CANNABIS INDUCED PSYCHOSIS
  20. CHRONIC PAIN
  21. COCAINE ADDICTION
  22. COMPULSIVE GAMBLING
  23. CRIME
  24. DEMENTIA
  25. DEPRESSION
  26. DESPAIR
  27. DIVORCE
  28. DRUNK AND VIOLENT
  29. EARLY FIRST SEX
  30. ELITE ATHL. PERFORMANCE
  31. FAIRNESS
  32. FEAR
  33. FEMALE ORGASM
  34. GAY
  35. GAY MICE
  36. GENEROSITY
  37. GOD
  38. HAPPINESS
  39. HATE
  40. HEROIN ADDICTION
  41. HOMOPHOBIA
  42. HUNGER
  43. INSOMNIA (in flies) 
  44. INTELLIGENCE
  45. KINDNESS
  46. LONELINESS
  47. LOVE-RAT GENE *
  48. MISERY
  49. MONOGAMY
  50. OBESITY II
  51. OBSESS-COM DISORDER
  52. OBSESS-COM HOARDING
  53. OPINIONS
  54. PAIN & REJECTION *
  55. PLACEBO
  56. PORK*
  57. PREMATURE EJACULATION
  58. PSYCHOSIS
  59. PTSD
  60. RUTHLESSNESS
  61. SADNESS
  62. SALT:  AFRICAN AMERICANS
  63. “SCAREDY-CAT” GENE
  64. SCHIZOPHRENIA
  65. SHYNESS/SOC. ANX. DISORDER
  66. SLEEP GENE DISCOVERY
  67. SMOKING ADDICTION
  68. STUBBORNNESS
  69. SUGAR
  70. SUICIDE
  71. TRANSEXUALITY
  72. VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY
  73. WARRIOR GENE

The Details

  1. ADHD – 9/29/2010: Gene Disorder Linked to ADHD.  Many who suffer from attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) appear to have a genetic abnormality that may predispose them to the condition, British researchers  FULL ARTICLE:  https://consumer.healthday.com/kids-health-information-23/attention-deficit-disorder-adhd-news-50/gene-disorder-linked-to-adhd-643724.html
  2. *ADHD II. December, 2011.  “At least 10 percent of the ADHD patients in our sample have these particular genetic variants,” said study leader Hakon Hakonarson, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Center for Applied Genomics at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “The genes involved affect neurotransmitter systems in the brain that have been implicated in ADHD, and we now have a genetic explanation for this link that applies to a subset of children with the disorder.”FULL ARTICLE:  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111204144650.htm
  3. AGGRESSION – 3/21/06 (TERRADAILY). A version of a gene previously linked to impulsive violence appears to weaken brain circuits that regulate impulses, emotional memory and thinking in humans,researchers at the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)have found.  FULL ARTICLE – http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Aggression_Related_Gene_Weakens_Brains_Impulse_Control_Circuits.html
  4. ALCOHOLISM – 10/19/10: Now scientists have identified a gene that has a “big, big effect” on how people respond to alcohol, says Kirk Wilhelmsen, senior author of a paper posted Tuesday by the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.  FULL ARTICLE: https://www.myaddiction.com/news/%5Btermpath-raw%5D/gene-identified-may-explain-how-we-react-to-alcohol
  5. ALCOHOLISM II– 10/30/10 (About.com): The study, published in the January 2004 issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, is the first to demonstrate an association between this particular gene and alcohol dependence.  “There were lines of evidence from other studies — animal studies, in vitro studies — that suggested GABA receptors are involved in the behavioral effects of alcohol,” says lead author Danielle M. Dick, Ph.D., research assistant professor of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. FULL ARTICLE: http://alcoholism.about.com/cs/genetics/a/bluwa040114.htm
  6. ALZHEIMER’S– 4/14/10 (WebMD): People with a particular variation in the gene, dubbed MTHFD1L,may be nearly twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease as people without the variation.Still, the absolute risk of developing Alzheimer’swill be “very small” for any given individual that carries the variant, says Margaret Pericak-Vance, PhD, director of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics. FULL ARTICLE: http://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/news/20100414/new-alzheimers-gene-identified 
  7. AMISH (HEART DISEASE) –12/12/08 (myLot): A rare genetic abnormality found in people in an insular Amish community protects them from heart disease, a discovery that could lead to new drugs to prevent heart ailments, U.S. researchers said.”People who have the mutation all have low triglycerides,” said Toni Pollin of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, who led the study released Thursday.  FULL ARTICLE – http://www.mylot.com/w/discussions/1832863.aspx
  8. ANOREXIA NERVOSA –11/19/10 (ScienceDaily): Scientists at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphiahave identified both common and rare gene variants associated with the eating disorder anorexia nervosa . . . “However, despite various genetic studies that identified a handful of candidate genes associated with AN, the genetic architecture underlying susceptibility to AN has been largely unknown,” said study leader Hakon Hakonarson, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Center for Applied Genomics at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. FULL ARTICLE – http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101119120840.htm
  9. ANXIETY – 3/3/08(Science Daily). “We found that variations in this gene were associated with shy, inhibited behavior in children, introverted personality in adults and the reactivity of brain regions involved in processing fear and anxiety,” says Jordan Smoller, MD, ScD, of the MGH Department of Psychiatry, the report’s lead author. FULL ARTICLE – http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080303190630.htm 
  10. ANXIETY AND SWEETS –5/6/10: Researchers have found an “anxiety gene” which when switched on not only causes stress but increases our craving for sweets and comfort food.  FULL ARTICLE: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/7686306/Scientists-find-anxiety-gene-that-also-makes-you-comfort-eat.html
  11. ART & SCHIZOPHRENIA: NewScientist – July 16, 2009. …New research seems to show why: a genetic mutation linked to psychosis and schizophrenia also influences creativity.  The finding could help to explain why mutations that increase a person’s risk of developing mental illnesses such as schizophreniaand bipolar syndrome have been preserved, even preferred, during human evolution, says Szabolcs Kéri, a researcher at Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary, who carried out the study. FULL ARTICLE: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17474-artistic-tendencies-linked-to-schizophrenia-gene.html
  12. AUTISM – 10/12/11 (The Sydney Morning Herald): A cluster of genes is missing in children with autism, US scientists have found. . . Michael Wiglerfirst proposed it may play a major role . . . Dr Wigler’s colleague, Alea Mills, has found the deleted gene cluster not only plays a role in the condition but also may affect head-size. “Kids with autism tend to have larger heads” . . . research was funded by the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative,started by billionaire James Simons and his wife, Marilyn.  FULL ARTICLE – http://www.smh.com.au/world/science/scientists-find-gene-link-to-autism-20111011-1lj95.html 
  13. AUTISM II – 4/2/12 (nature) : De novomutations revealed by whole-exome sequencing are strongly associated with autism; Stephan J. Sanders, Michael T. Murtha, Abha R. Gupta, John D. Murdoch, Melanie J. Raubeson, A. Jeremy Willsey, A. Gulhan Ercan-Sencicek, Nicholas M. DiLullo, Neelroop N. Parikshak, Jason L. Stein, Michael F. Walker, Gordon T. Ober, Nicole A. Teran, Youeun Song, Paul El-Fishawy, Ryan C. Murtha, Murim Choi, John D. Overton, Robert D. Bjornson, Nicholas J. Carriero, Kyle A. Meyer, Kaya Bilguvar, Shrikant M. Mane, Nenad Šestan, Richard P. Lifton et al.. FULL ARTICLE – http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature10945.html
  14. AUTISM III – 4/25/12: A team led by scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL)publishes research today indicating a striking association between genes found disrupted in children with autism and genes that are targets of FMRP . . . “A surprising proportion — up to 20% — of the candidate geneswe see in our sample drawn from 343 autism families appear to be regulated by FMRP,” says CSHL Research Investigator Michael Ronemus, co-first author of the new study. FULL ARTICLE – http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-04-link-fragile-x-gene-mutations-autism.html
  15. BAD DRIVING – 10/29/09 (CNNTech).In a study published recently in the journal Cerebral Cortex, researcher Steven Cramerfound that people with a certain gene variant performed more than 30 percent worse on a driving test than people without it.. FULL ARTICLE:http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/science/10/29/bad.driver.gene/index.html
  16. BEDWETTING – 7/1/95 (What’s News).A team of Danish scientists examined 400 Danish families and selected 11 that suffered from ‘primary nocturnal enuresis type 1’ (PEN1) . . . They were able to localize the responsible gene to the long arm of chromosome 13. “A child who wets the bed does not do so on purpose,” said Hans Eiberg, Associate Professor at the Danish Center for Genome Research. “We now have scientific evidence that many cases of bed-wetting are caused by genetic factors beyond a child’s and parent’s control.”. FULL ARTICLE:  http://www.cccbiotechnology.com/WN/SUA05/bedwet.php
  17. BI-POLAR – 10/19/06: Bipolar Gene Discovered:  A team of researchers from Sydney, Australiaannounced some exciting findingsin this January’s edition of Molecular Psychiatry– a genetic link to bipolardisorder, the FAT gene.  FULL ARTICLE – http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2006/01/19/bipolar-gene-discovered/
  18. CAFFEINE – 4/6/11: Now researchers have found two genetic variations that may explain why never the twain shall meet.Genetic epidemiologist Marilyn Cornelis of the Harvard School of Public Health in Bostonknows about coffee addicts first hand—she’s got one in the family. Her father drinks 10 cups a day, she says. “He actually needs a cup of coffee before he can go to bed.”  FULL ARTICLE:  http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2011/04/caffeine-fiend-could-be-gene-thing-or-two
  19. CANNABIS INDUCED PSYCHOSIS – 03/17/16 (PSYCHIATRIC NEWS). A team in the United Kingdom enrolled 442 young cannabis users (aged 16 to 23) and tested their working memory and psychotic symptoms both while intoxicated and drug free; they also collected DNA samples and tested for the presence of variants in two genes: AKT1 and COMT.FULL ARTICLE:https://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.pn.2016.3b53
  20. CHRONIC PAIN – 9/8/11 (Yahoo Health). British scientists have identified a gene responsible for regulating chronic pain, called HCN2, and say their discovery should help drug researchers in their search for more effective, targeted pain-killing medicines. “Individuals suffering from neuropathic pain often have little or no respite because of the lack of effective medications,” said Peter McNaughton of Cambridge’s pharmacology department, who led the study.   FULL ARTICLE:  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pain-gene/scientists-find-gene-that-controls-chronic-pain-idUSTRE7875PN20110908
  21. COCAINE ADDICTION – 11/11/08 (The Telegraph). Rainer Spanagel, professor of psychopharmacology at the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, Germany, who led the study, said: “If you are a carrier of this gene variant the likelihood of getting addicted to cocaine is higher. You can certainly use this as a vulnerability marker for cocaine addiction.” FULL ARTICLE:  https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/3438758/Cocaine-addiction-gene-discovered.html
  22. COMPULSIVE GAMBLING – 9/5/96 (CNN). The research suggests compulsive gamblers share a gene that predisposes them to addictive behavior.  Environmental factors are important, psychological factors are important. It’s a complex disorder. But genes also play a role and this is one of the genes, said David Comings of the City of Hope National Medical Center.  FULL ARTICLE: http://edition.cnn.com/HEALTH/9609/05/born.gamblers/ 
  23. CRIME – 7/2/08: Crime Gene Discovered:  Researchers from King’s College Londonhave found that boys who have a version of a gene are much more likely to leave the rails if they are abused when young.FULL ARTICLE:  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/2165715.stm
  24. DEMENTIA – 7/16/06 (NIH). “This new finding is an important advance in our understanding of frontotemporal dementia,” says NIA director Richard J. Hodes. “It identifies a mutation in the gene producing a growth factor that helps neurons survive, and it suggests that lack of this growth factor may be involved in this form of frontotemporal dementia.”. FULL ARTICLE: https://www.bionews.org.uk/page_90102
  25. DEPRESSION – 2/4/12 (FOXNews): David Glahn of Yale Universityand the Hartford Hospital Institute of Living, who worked on the study, said that finding the key to characterizing the gene was to combine all the information. “We assume that the biological measures are closer mechanistically to the underlying disease processes in the brain. Yet, ultimately we are interested in the subjective experiences and functional impairment associated with mental illness,” said Dr. John Krystal, editor of Biological Psychiatry, where the study appears. FULL ARTICLE: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/01/04/scientists-find-gene-for-depression/
  26. DEPRESSION II – 1/3/11 (TIMEHeartland):Researchers led by Srijan Sen, a professor of psychiatry atUniversity of Michigan, report in the Archives of General Psychiatry that individuals with a particular form of the serotonin transporter gene were more vulnerable to developing depression when faced with stressful life events such as having a serious medical illness or being a victim of childhood abuse. The form of the gene that these individuals inherit prevents the mood-regulating serotonin from being re-absorbed by nerve cells in the brain. FULL ARTICLE: http://healthland.time.com/2011/01/03/a-gene-to-explain-depression/
  27. DESPAIR – 9/17/09 (MedIndia). A gene, touted as the “despair” gene, which earlier had no relation with mood disorders, has now been found to have a link with bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenic conditions, according to pharmacy scientists at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB).  FULL ARTICLE –  http://www.medindia.net/news/Despair-Gene-Linked-to-Mood-Disorders-Depression-and-Schizophrenia-60999-1.htm 
  28. DIVORCE – 2/27/12 (MEDIndia). Researchers from the Karolinska Instituteanalyzed the DNA of more than 1,800 women and found that “women who had a variation of an oxytocin receptor gene, known as A-allele, were 50 per cent more likely to report ‘martial crisis or threat of divorce’.” FULL ARTICLE – http://www.medindia.net/news/divorce-gene-identified-98087-1.htm
  29. DRUNK AND VIOLENT – 12/22/10 (The Telegraph). Interestingly, we found that the genetic variant alone was insufficient to cause people to act in such ways,” said Dr David Goldman at National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholismin Maryland, USA. “Carriers of the HTR2B variant who had committed impulsive crimes were male, and all had become violent only while drunk from alcohol, which itself leads to behavioural disinhibition.” FULL ARTICLE: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101222131121.htm
  30. EARLY FIRST SEX – 8/14/09. (BBC NEWS).The researchers at the University of Oregon compared the average age of first intercourse among children whose fathers were always absent, partially absent or always present throughout childhood . . .Jane Mendle, professor of psychology at the University of Oregon, who led the study said: “The association between father’s absence and children’s sexuality is best explained by genetic influences, rather than by environmental theories alone.  FULL ARTICLE:  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8251483.stm
  31. ELITE ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE – March/2003. Full Report.  ACTN3 Genotype Is Associated with Human Elite Athletic Performance.  Institute for Neuromuscular Research, Children’s Hospital at Westmead and Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney, Sydney; Australian Institute of Sport and Human Genetics Group, John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University, Canberra; and Genetics Division, Children’s Hospital, Boston.  FULL ARTICLE: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1180686/
  32. FAIRNESS – 2/27/12 (MEDIndia). The D4 receptor (DRD4) exon3 is a well-characterized functional polymorphism, which is known to be associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and personality traits including novelty seeking and self-report altruism. Applying a neurogenetic approach, we find that DRD4 is significantly associated with fairness preference. A FULL ARTICLE:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2972208/
  33. FEAR – 11/18/05 (SOFTPEDIA). Rutgers geneticist Gleb Shumyatskyhas discovered a gene that controls both innate and learned forms of fear. . . Stathmin knockout mice, or mutants bred to be deficient in this gene, showed an increase in the amount of microtubules . . .They noted that the knockout mice showed no fear and consistently explored more open areas than normal mice.”This study provides genetic evidence that amygdala-enriched Stathmin is required for the expression of innate fear and the formation of memory for learned fear,” the authors concluded.  FULL ARTICLE:  http://news.softpedia.com/news/Rresearchers-Discover-the-Fear-Gene-12780.shtml
  34. FEMALE ORGASM – 6/7/05 (theguardian). Tim Spector of St Thomas’s hospital in London, who led the research, said: “The theory is that the orgasm is an evolutionary way of seeing if men can prove themselves to be likely good providers or dependable, patient and caring enough to look after the kids.” Women who orgasm very easily may be more likely to be satisfied with poor quality men. FULL ARTICLE:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2005/jun/08/genetics.research
  35. GAY – 4/16/10 (UWIRE). Recent research from Northwestern U. professor J. Michael Baileyraises new questions in the science behind sexual orientation, namely bisexuality and the prototypical “gay gene.”  In his studies on bisexuality, Bailey, a psychology professor, and a team of researchers look at sexual arousal patterns to objectively determine sexual orientation in men and women. Bailey tracks the subject’s brain activity while they are looking at erotic pictures to essentially determine “what turns them on,” he said.  FULL ARTICLE: http://uwire.com/2010/04/16/new-research-into-possible-gay-gene/
  36. GAY MICE – 7/14/10 (POPSCI). A group of Korean geneticists has altered the sexual preferences of female mice by removing a single gene linked to reproductive behavior. Without the gene, the mice gravitated toward mice of the same sex. Those mice who retained the gene, called FucM, were attracted to male mice. (FucM is short for fucose mutarotase.)  FULL ARTICLE:  http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2010-07/has-gay-gene-been-found-female-mice
  37. GENEROSITY – 10/31/07 (World Science). The experiment provided “the first evidence, to my knowledge, for a relationship between DNA variability and real (costly) human altruism,” wrote Ariel Knafo of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, a member of the research team, in an e­mail. The study appears in the early online edition of the research journal Genes, Brain and Behavior.  FULL ARTICLE:  http://www.globaldialoguefoundation.org/files/Genesgenerosity.pdf
  38. GOD – 11/14/04: LONDON — An American molecular geneticisthas concluded after comparing more than 2,000 DNA samples that a person’s capacity to believe in God is linked to brain chemicals.  FULL ARTICLE – http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2004/nov/14/20041114-111404-8087r/
  39. HAPPINESS – 2/27/09 (eNotAlone). Whether you see a glass half-empty or half-full may depend on your genes, report scientists in Britain.  Variations in a mood-altering gene influence whether people take a pessimistic or optimistic view of the world, Elaine Fox and her colleagues at the University of Essex They found that different versions of the gene, which is involved in the transportation of the wellbeing chemical serotonin, affect whether or not we are drawn to negative or positive aspects of the world.  FULL ARTICLE: http://www.enotalone.com/article/19375.html
  40. HEROIN ADDICTION5/31/05 (NewScientist). The study was conducted on heroin-addicted rats. But the researchers now think that, within a few years, better treatments will become available to human heroin users who cannot quit due to insidious cycles of relapse. “Many people try to stop taking heroin, but in a few months almost all of them go back to using the drug,” said Ivan Diamond, at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center in California, US, and one of the research team. FULL ARTICLE – http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn7445
  41. HOMOPHOBIAOctober, 2000 (BNET). MANILA Gay scientists think they may have found a gene for homophobia. Researchers at the city’s Gay Science Institute(GSI) are optimistic that they are `very close’ to a scientific explanation for the condition.  FULL ARTICLE: https://newint.org/features/2000/10/05/news/
  42. HUNGER – 8/8/08 (WRAL). A gene might make children prone to becoming obese, according to the results of a recent study in the United Kingdom. . . The study tested more than 3,000 children between the ages of 8 and 11. It found that children with a particular strain of gene could not tell when they were full. They were more likely to eat than children without the gene. . . “It is genuinely much more difficult for them to regulate their food intake appropriately,” Jane Wardle, a professor at University College London, said.  FULL ARTICLE – http://www.wral.com/lifestyles/healthteam/story/3351228/
  43. INSOMNIA (in flies)– 2/22/12 (ZEENEWS.COM). A team at Rockefeller University in New Yorksays its has identified the genetic mutation in fruit flies . . . The research says although flies and humans have little in common when it comes to lifestyle, the mechanisms of sleep and wakefulness are likely to be quite similar. Dr Nicholas Stavropoulosled the team.FULL ARTICLE: http://zeenews.india.com/news/health/sexual/the-insomnia-gene-discovered_15734.html
  44. INTELLIGENCE– 4/27/06 (Feinstein Institute for Medical Research). Psychiatric researchers at The Zucker Hillside Hospital campus of The Feinstein Institute for Medical Researchhave uncovered evidence of a gene that appears to influence intelligence. “A robust body of evidence suggests that cognitive abilities, particularly intelligence, are significantly influenced by genetic factors. Existing data already suggests that dysbindin may influence cognition,” said Katherine Burdick, PhD, the study’s primary author.FULL ARTICLE:  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060427161424.htm
  45. KINDNESS – 01/12/05 (ABC NEWS). “We take good behavior for granted,” says psychologist Philippe Ruston of the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, author of a recent study on the genetic basis for altruism . . . In his most recent research, Ruston wanted to know if there is a genetic component to good behavior. In other words, do we have a “goodness gene” that encourages us to do the right thing?  Ruston thinks the answer is yes, although such a gene is obviously expressed differently in some persons than it is in others.  FULL ARTICLE: https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/DyeHard/story?id=402969&page=1
  46. LONELINESS – 9/14/07: Loneliness is gene deep, its molecular signature is reflected in the lonely person’s DNA. This was the conclusion of a new US study by scientists at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and other US academic centers.  The study is published in the latest issue of the journal Genome Biology.  FULL ARTICLE:  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/82496.php
  47. LOVE-RAT GENE.  September, 2008.  Researchers have found that men with a common genetic ‘flaw’ are less likely to marry even if they have children with a long-term partner.  Those who have tied the knot are twice as likely to be in a rocky marriage and to have discussed the possibility of divorce. Writing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers, from Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute, said: “This may tentatively reflect a lower degree of commitment.”  FULL ARTICLE: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1051487/The-love-rat-gene-Why-men-born-cause-trouble-strife.html
  48. MISERY – 6/17/09 (Science Alert). Researchers at the Western Australian Centre for Health & Aginghave identified a genetic variation in the C-reactive protein gene that predisposes individuals to developing depressive symptoms. FULL ARTICLE:  http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20091706-19303.html
  49. MONOGAMY – 9/2/08 (Washington Post) “Men with two copies of the allele had twice the risk of experiencing marital dysfunction, with a threat of divorce during the last year, compared to men carrying one or no copies,” said Hasse Walum, a behavioral geneticist at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholmwho led the study.FULL ARTICLE:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/01/AR2008090102087.html?nav=hcmodule
  50. OBESITY– 4/13/07 (Medical News Today). UK researchers have discovered a commonly occurring gene variant that may explain why some people become overweight while others do not. However, they point out that it is unlikely to be the cause of the global obesityepidemic . . . A UK research team, led by Dr Andrew Hattersley of Peninsula Medical School in Exeter, have discovered a gene variant that occurs in over half of people of European descent that they think helps to regulate the amount of fat in the body.  FULL ARTICLE: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/67666.php
  51. OBESITY II– 4/13/07 (NPR). When people inherit a common variant of a gene called FTO, they tend to put on a few extra pounds and are at higher risk of becoming obese. That’s the bad news scientists already knew. What they didn’t know, until now, is that people with this version of the gene also tend to lose more brain tissue as they age.  That’s the bad news from a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  The study, led by researchers atUCLA, looked at brain scans of more than 200 healthy people older than 55.  FULL ARTICLE:  http://m.npr.org/news/front/114623161?page=1
  52. OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER – 9/4/02 (BBC NEWS). Researchers from the University of Torontostudied OCD patients and their parents.  They focused on a gene that plays a central role in determining how one of the serotonin receptors works.  And they found that OCD patients were more likely to inherit a particular version of the gene from their parents.  FULL ARTICLE: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/2234315.stm 
  53. OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE HOARDING – 10/7/08 (National Institutes of Health). Recent work suggests that neurotrophic factors may contribute to the genetic susceptibility to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Among other clinical dimensions, the presence of hoarding obsessions and compulsions has been shown to be correlated with a number of clinical and neuroimaging findings, as well as with a different pattern of genetic inheritance.  FULL ARTICLE: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18616610
  54. OPINIONS – 6/18/01 (SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN). According to a new study published in this month’s Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,our views on things ranging from abortion and racial discrimination to roller coasters and exercise may arise at least in part from our genes. The study, led by James Olson of the University of Western Ontario, looked at 336 pairs of both fraternal and identical adult twins.  FULL ARTICLE: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/genes-may-hold-sway-over/
  55. PAIN & REJECTION.  August, 2009. UCLA psychologistshave determined for the first time that a gene linked with physical pain sensitivity is associated with social pain sensitivity as well.  “These findings suggest that the feeling of being given the cold shoulder by a romantic interest or not being picked for a schoolyard game of basketball may arise from the same circuits that are quieted by morphine,” said Baldwin Way, a UCLA postdoctoral scholarand the lead author on the paper. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090817142859.htm
  56. PLACEBO – 12/1/08 (NewScientist). For the first time, a gene is being linked to increased susceptibility to the placebo effect, the mysterious capacity some people have to benefit from sham treatments. . . “To our knowledge, it’s the first time anyone has linked a gene to the placebo effect,” says Tomas Furmarkof Uppsala University in SwedeFULL ARTICLE: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20026854.900-first-placebo-gene-discovered.html
  57. PORK(That’s right – Pork). org.  May, 2012. Duke University Medical Center scientists, working with colleagues in Norway, found that about 70 percent of people have two functional copies of a gene linked to an odor receptor that detects a compound in male mammals called androstenone, which is common in pork.  Hiroaki Matsunami, PhD, a Duke associate professor of molecular genetics and microbiology, had previously discovered and described the genetics of the odor receptor for androstenone (OR7D4). FULL ARTICLE: https://mgm.duke.edu/home/2012-news-archives/genes-explain-why-some-people-turn-their-noses-up-at-meat/
  58. PREAMATURE EJACULATION – 12/1/08 (NewScientist). The volunteers in Marcel Waldinger’sstudy were 89 men who had so-called primary premature ejaculation, meaning they had always suffered from it from their first sexual contact onwards.For a month, their female partners were asked to use a stopwatch at home to measure the time until ejaculation each time they had intercourse. [Marcel D. Waldinger is a neuropsychiatrist and head of the Department of Consultative Psychiatry and the outpatient Department of Neurosexology at Leyenburg Hospital in The Hague in The Netherlands.]FULL ARTICLE: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7657092.stm
  59. PTSD – 2/2/12 (LATimes). The existence of a study population with clear genetic links, common family histories, and exposure to a single trauma allowed researchers an unusual opportunity to distill informationabout genes’ role in PTSD, said UCLA psychiatristArmen K. Goenjian, who led the study.FULL ARTICLE: http://www.latimes.com/health/la-he-ptsd-genes-20120404,0,6603955.story
  60. RUTHLESSNESS – 4/2/08 (Nature). Researchers at the Hebrew University in Jerusalemfound a link between a gene called AVPR1a and ruthless behaviour in an economic exercise called the ‘Dictator Game’. The exercise allows players to behave selflessly, or like money-grabbing dictators such as former Zaire President Mobutu, who plundered the mineral wealth of his country to become one of the world’s richest men while its citizens suffered in poverty.FULL ARTICLE: http://www.nature.com/news/2008/080404/full/news.2008.738.html 
  61. SALT – AFRICAN AMERICANS – 3/26/99 (Science Daily). “This is a new finding — no one has reported this association in African Americans,” says the study’s lead author, John M. Flack, M.D., professor and associate chairman, department of internal medicine, and director of the cardiovascular epidemiology and clinical applications program at Wayne State University in Detroi African Americans are at greater risk of developing high blood pressure than the general population.  FULL ARTICLE – http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990326061953.htm
  62. “SCAREDY-CAT” – 4/08 (MailOnline). Psychologist Christian Montag, one of the research team from the University of Bonn in Germany, said the Met158 mutation – which doesn’t exist in chimpanzees – may have helped survival by increasing wariness. ‘It was an advantage to be more anxious in a dangerous environment,’ said Mr Montag, whose findings are reported today in the journal Behavioural Neuroscience.  FULL ARTICLE – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1043424/Revealed-The-scaredy-cat-gene-makes-jump-horror-movies.html
  63. SCHIZOPHRENIA – 3/20/01 (BBC NEWS). A group of psychiatrists, geneticists and neuroscientists from the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the Julius Maximilians-University in Wuerzburgfound the gene during their investigation of chromosome 22.  FULL ARTICLE – http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/1229281.stm 
  64. SCHIZOPHRENIA II – 01/28/16 (SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN). After conducting studies in both humans and mice, the researchers said this new schizophrenia risk gene, called C4, appears to be involved in eliminating the connections between neurons — a process called “synaptic pruning,” which, in humans, happens naturally in the teen years.  FULL ARTICLE:  https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/schizophrenia-gene-discovery-sheds-light-on-possible-cause/
  65. SHYNESS/SOCIAL ANXIETY DISORDER – 3/3/08 (Science 2.0). “We found that variations in this gene were associated with shy, inhibited behavior in children, introverted personality in adults and the reactivity of brain regions involved in processing fear and anxiety,” says Jordan Smoller, MD, ScD, of the MGH Department of Psychiatry, the report’s lead author. “Each of these traits appears to be a risk factor for social anxiety disorder, the most common type of anxiety disorder in the U.S.”. FULL ARTICLE:  http://www.science20.com/science_2_0/study_rgs2_gene_variant_linked_to_increased_risk_of_anxiety_disorders
  66. SLEEP GENE DISCOVERY – 7/4/06 (The Medical News). Proteins that regulate sleep and biological timing in the body work much differently than previously thought, meaning drug makers must change their approach to making drugs for sleep disorders and depression and other timing-related illnesses.  The surprise finding is an about-face from previous research,said Daniel Forger, assistant professor of math at the University of Michigan.  FULL ARTICLE – http://www.news-medical.net/news/2006/07/04/18706.aspx
  67. SMOKING ADDICTION – 8/11/08 (NATIONALNEWSDESK). Researchers at Michigan Universityhave found a new gene that hugely increases a person’s risk of becoming addicted to tobacco after their first smoke. FULL ARTICLE – http://news.injuryboard.com/study-links-smoking-addiction-to-gene-variant.aspx?googleid=245470
  68. STUBBORNNESS.  January, 2008.  Researchersat the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciencesin Leipzig say such influential figures as Lord Nelson, Winston Churchill and suffragette leader Emily Pankhurst probably had the “never say die” gene which gives them the dogged determination to continue in times of adversity.  The study’s co-author, Dr Markus Ullsperger, said that about 30 per cent of the population have the so-called A1 mutation. FULL ARTICLE: http://www.scotsman.com/news/one-in-three-people-born-stubborn-and-if-you-don-t-agree-tough-1-1072219
  69. SUGAR – 5/23/08 (The Endowment for Medical Research). “These findings may help explain some of the individual variations in people’s preference for sugary foods. It’s especially important given the soaring rates of obesity and diabetes throughout much of the world,” study senior researcher Ahmed El-Sohemy, of the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, said in a prepared statement. “We have found that a variation in the GLUT2 gene is associated with a higher intake of sugars among different populations.”  FULL ARTICLE – http://www.endowmentmed.org/forum/index.php?topic=37.0
  70. SUICIDE – 11/14/11 (theguradian):“If we knew who had an enhanced risk of suicide, we could change our approach to their care,” said John Mann, chief neuroscientist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. . . The results revealed a variant of a gene called RGS2 that appeared more often in those who tried to kill themselves.   FULL ARTICLE: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/nov/14/gene-raises-suicide-risk
  71. TRANSEXUALITY – 10/27/08 (ABCScience). Study leader, head of molecular genetics at Prince Henry’s Institute of Medical Researchin Melbourne, Associate Professor Vincent Harley, speculates, based on cell studies, that this genetic variation might reduce testosterone action and “under-masculinise” or feminise the brain during foetal development. “Studies in cells show the longer version of the androgen receptor gene works less efficiently at communicating the testosterone message to cells,” Harley says.   FULL ARTICLE:  http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2008/10/27/2401941.htm
  72. VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY – 6/9/10 (Reuters). Scientists have found three genetic differences that affect a person’s risk of being deficient in the “sunshine” vitamin D and say their work helps explain why sunlight and a good diet aren’t always enough . . . “Our findings establish a role for common genetic variants in regulation of circulating vitamin D concentrations,” said Elina Hypponen of the University College London Institute of Child Health, who worked on the study.  FULL ARTICLE:  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-genes-vitamin-d/scientists-find-gene-links-to-vitamin-d-deficiency-idUSTRE6586QF20100609
  73. WARRIOR GENE – 6/8/09 (Science Daily). Boys who carry a particular variation of the gene Monoamine oxidase A (MAOA), sometimes called the “warrior gene,” are more likely not only to join gangs but also to be among the most violent members and to use weapons, according to a new study from The Florida State Universitythat is the first to confirm an MAOA link specifically to gangs and guns.  FULL ARTICLE: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090605123237.htm                   

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Professor Garfield, One More Time
“The public readily believes that genes cause behaviour, but the actual relationship between genes and environment is very complicated, and scientists have little understanding of how genes work . . .  [T]here is no general agreement on what a gene is,” says Garfield.“[Among scientists] there is no single agreed-upon definition of what a gene is. http://radboud.academia.edu/HubZwart/Papers/924007/Book_review_Michael_Crichton-_Next_2006_

Don’t be a Gene Fool
And don’t let your gene’s fool you either.  We’re a lot more than our 23 pairs of chromosomes and 25,000 or so genes.  So, whether you believe in God, whether you are fair to your fellow human beings, or whether your opinions are so much different from everyone else’s, don’t blame it on your genes.

They never did anything to you . . . or for you . . . so far.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Summary published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine,National Institutes of Health on June 1, 2012:
“. . . In human behavior genetics, however, powerful new methods have failed to reveal even one bona fide, replicable gene effect pertinent to the normal range of variation in intelligence and personality. There is no explanatory or predictive value in that genetic information . . . The promises of the molecular genetic revolution have not been fulfilled in behavioral domains of most interest to human psychology.”
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22674524

EPILOGUE

Up to and including today, no matter what day today is when you read this, there is still no gene scientifically proven to have anything to do with human behavior.
 
If that sounds like a challenge, it is – to the new and growing number of “psychiatric geneticists” to offer scientific proof otherwise.
 
A single exception to this resolute assertion will do.

ACCURACY SCORE AS OF OCTOBER, 2012:  0 FOR 73

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MY RESPONSE TO COMMENTS FROM A READER:

Couple of things you said caught my eye.

“Just because ‘a gene’ for a condition can’t be isolated, doesn’t mean the condition isn’t genetically inherited.”  

I hear the “just because” argument often about a variety of facts.  For example:  “Just because there’s no evidence of Bigfoot doesn’t mean Bigfoot doesn’t exist.”  We forget the absence of evidence isn’t evidence of anything either.  That, and you use the term “condition.” That’s usually a euphemism for “disease” or “disorder” and points to something that is lacking or in short supply that needs “treatment.”

“For example, there is not even ‘a gene’ for a simple trait like eye color, but no one would seriously argue that eye color is not hereditary.”

You’re right, of course, though you made my point, inadvertently. After a more than a hundred years of genetic research, no one can point to a gene for eye color, or anything else – first and foremost human behavior.

“Most genetically inherited traits are influenced by genes interacted with the environment (epigenetics).”

Whoa.  If you are talking about physical traits – eye/hair color, bone formation, facial forms – that seems obvious.  I look a lot like my dad, and my mom too, to a lesser degree.  If the geneticist wants to claim we inherit our physical traits, OK.

We venture into fantasyland by making a huge leap of faith – not science – that genes have something to do with behavior.  We tend to take up the sort of agreed upon “truth” that because eye color seems to be inherited, well then, the same must be true for “behavioral traits.”  Ask anyone. “He’s just like his dad” so it must be “inherited,” and that means it’s “genetic.”  Despite no credible science to support this – so far anyway – it just must be true.

“Twin studies overall show heritability of behavioral traits like impulsivity, learning disabilities, addiction, and criminal behavior are somewhere between 35% and 65% inherited, and that those traits tend to cluster, probably sharing multiple genes that predispose to them.”

So absent any proof found from the genetic laboratory, there are all those “twin studies” that purport to show the “degree of similarity with respect to the presence or absence of a particular disease or trait (concordance),” measured in percentages. How long would it take a sociologist or psychologist to offer a completely non-genetic, non- psychiatric explanation for these similarity “percentages?”  About ten minutes. (By the way, if monozygotic twins grow up in the same healthy household, using the “logic” of the geneticists, how is it that their “behavioral traits” differ at all?  They’re genetically identical.  Their physical traits are obviously identical (99%+), so why aren’t their behavioral traits?  To answer that question you have to talk about sociology and psychology, and that’s the point.

Here’s a few references of my own.

From Richard M. Lerner, Tufts University, Medford, Mass., USA – Another Nine-Inch Nail for Behavioral Genetics!  http://www.martinfrost.ws/htmlfiles/oct2007/Behavioral_Genetics.pdf

“Why do we have to keep reinterring behavior genetics or other counterfactual conceptualizations of the role of genes in behavior and development? Why is it still necessary to continue to drive additional nails into the coffin of this failed approach to developmental science.”

From Jay Joseph, the leading critic of behavioral genetics, THE CRUMBLING PILLARS OF BEHAVIORAL GENETICS:  http://www.councilforresponsiblegenetics.org/genewatch/GeneWatchPage.aspx?pageId=384

“The evidence suggests that genes for the major psychiatric disorders, as well as for IQ and personality, do not exist.  Simply put, the gene finding claims and predictions by Plomin and other leading behavioral geneticists turned out to be wrong. The best explanation for why this occurred is not that “heritability is missing,” but that previous and current claims that psychiatric and psychological twin studies prove something about genetics are also wrong.” 

Joseph also said this:

“Although the media frequently reports that specific genes have been linked to psychiatric disorders and psychological traits, in almost every case subsequent research has failed to substantiate these findings.”

Finally, It’s not up to the naysayers like me to “prove” that Bigfoot doesn’t exist.  It’s up to the proponents to offer proof of this myth.

Like Bigfoot, the “psychiatric geneticists” must provide us with proof, first, of their premise:  genes influence behavior. So far, after a century of trying to do so, none exists.  Second, if that can be done – and even though I doubt that will ever happen I will acknowledge the discovery if it ever does – then these same scientists must provide proof that a gene or a group of genes “causes” a single behavioral trait.  As I mentioned in my article, so far the score is 0 for 73.

Until then, we’re all being Gene Fools, and perpetuating this urban legend.

RC

Children’s Temperament Traits

“Human action can be modified to some extent,
but human nature cannot be changed.”    – Abraham Lincoln

Medium Shapes

I developed Children’s Temperament Traits (CTT) in the mid-1980’s.  By then I was completing my doctoral dissertation.  I was also running the first of three different treatment facilities for children and I was training my staff in temperaments and techniques.  I’ve also used this material to train thousands of professionals and parents in workshops throughout California.  Most of the professionals were licensed therapists, interns, school teachers and aides, and child-care counselors.

Though I knew he wouldn’t remember me – I had one class from him while I was a student at Cal State Fullerton – on the outside chance I might hear back, I mailed CTT to David Keirsey for his critique, sometime in the late 1980’s.  He was long retired by then, and I hadn’t seen him in several years.  I wasn’t sure if he would reply.  Thankfully, he did, in a manner of speaking.

Dr. Keirsey sent back my entire essay, with edits hand-written in the margins, other words crossed out and replaced, and other changes.  He added no other comments, other than a “good job!” on the very bottom of the last page.  The edits he made were all gems, and I quickly made the changes.

I’ve made a few more since, though not too many.  Now that I have time, I’m primed to do some long overdue research, writing and lecturing about children, temperament, and techniques.  I also hope to find people who are adept, and so inclined, to take on this endeavor.  It’s never been done, as far as I know.

Sorters
I experimented 30 years ago with a children’s “sorter” of my own.  I didn’t like it, and I don’t like children temperament sorters in general.  I’ve reviewed a few on different websites.  The ones I found seemed to “miniaturize” adult sorters.  It’s really not that simple.  Children aren’t merely smaller versions of their adult counterparts.  In Keirseyan temperament theory, children arrive whole, already equipped.  Our job then, as child managers, is to understand who they are and to help them unfold.

More important, a sorter for children relies on adults to give answers to the written questions, so it’s fraught with the bias – and temperament – of the adult.  Too much “mind-reading” occurs and, when discovering a person’s temperament, “mind-reading” is not allowed.  Observation – watching what children do – is, as far as I’m concerned, the most accurate way to understand what makes a child move.

Child Management Techniques
The specific techniques we choose as parents, teachers, coaches, and counselors to manage troubled or troublesome children is temperament dependent.  To follow is a list of techniques that I’ve collected, used, and trained on over the years.

The majority of the techniques (except for Amnesty) found in Reactive and Proactive sections are gleaned from Keirsey’s little known yet very useful work, Corrective Intervention:  A Manual for Casualty Reduction Specialists in Pupil Personnel Services, copyright, 1972.  Though I’ll write more about this later, this small, obscure handbook may have had the most impact on my career – and the children in my care.

After I post the four portraits – the next blog will be about the STARS –  I’ll provide a description of each technique, as well as how they are best used with STARS, SQUARES, SPHERES and CUBES.  For now, the list of techniques include:

1.  Therapy Techniques
•  
Reflection (Client Centered Therapy):  Carl Rogers, Inventor
•  Psychodrama:  Jacob Moreno, Inventor
•  Rational-Emotive Therapy:  Albert Ellis, Inventor
•  Gestalt Therapy (NOT to be confused with Gestalt theory):  Fritz Perls, Inventor
•  Behavior Modification:  A generic term, behaviorism began with the writings of John B. Watson and B.F. Skinner
•  Reality Therapy:  William Glasser, Inventor
•  Insight Therapy (Psychoanalysis):  Also a generic term and used by many, the inventor of this technique is Sigmund Freud.

2.  Reactive Techniques
•  Restriction         •  Abuse         •  Restitution        •  Deprivation      •  Amnesty

3.  Proactive Techniques
•  The Easy Task   •  Blackmail       •  Bribery        •  Defusing           •  Distraction
•  Frontloading     •  Moratorium  •  Rehearsal    •  Sidetracking     •  Signaling

4.  Group Techniques
•  Adolescent Interactive Group (AIG)       •  The Truth Chair           •  Challenge
•  GIDE (Group Interaction and Drug Education)
•  GIVE (Group Interaction and Violence Education)

5.  Other Techniques
•  The Baldy Maneuver•   Logical Consequences
•  Active Response Training (ART)  –
           ~  Regardless & Nevertheless                       ~  The Sponge
           ~  The “You Win” Proposition                         ~  The Takeover Maneuver
(ART is pre-esclation training for school, residential care, and other mental health facility personnel.  Considered “basic training” in my facilities, ART began in California as Alternatives to Restraint Training in 1989.)

CTT Portraits
Each of the four portraits will include a description of the four shapes.  In addition, each portrait will conclude with a section on:
(1) Dislikes/Complains About
(2) Worrisome Behaviors
(3) Enjoys
(4) Praise for/Responds to
(5)  Intervention Techniques, for each of the four shapes.

I’ll start with the STARS, the most troublesome of the four shapes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Next Blog:  CTT Portrait:  STARS – “Do your own thing!”

Why Shapes?

Large Shapes

I’ve been asked a few times where I got the idea for the four shapes I selected to represent the four Keirseyan temperaments.   As a reminder, they are:

    Star Shape  STARS (Young Artisans) 

  Cube Shape  CUBES ( Young Rationals)      

Sphere Shape  SPHERES (Young Idealists)

Square Shape  SQUARES (Young Guardians)

About 25 years ago I started doing CEU[i] workshops for therapists, social workers, counselors, teachers, teacher aides and parents in child management techniques and temperament.  They go hand in hand, by the way.  A technique that may be useful for the Square may have no effect on the Star, and sometimes may make things worse.  The name of the workshop was “Kids Come in All Shapes.”  Participants learned about the four temperaments of children, and left after 6 hours training with some new techniques for each temperament.

Back then, I was a maturing student of Gestalt psychology, thanks to David Keirsey.  Gestalt is the German word for form or shape, and it designates  “wholeness,” a fundamental concept for this long forgotten and much more humane theory of human psychology.

By the way, for those who may be interested, Gestalt psychologists believe “modern” psychology isn’t so modern.  We believe the “elemental psychologists” (the other 99%!) look at human behavior and personality inside out – literally.  The “elementalists” see human psychology as made up of different “parts” or “elements,” and it’s the parts that make up the whole.  Holists (Gestaltists), like me and Dr. Keirsey, believe wholes are fundamental, and much, much more than the sum of it’s parts.

More than that, the current psychiatric elementalists believe that the cause of poor behavior can be understood by looking through a microscope, whether it’s measuring “neurotransmitters” (chemicals), or by “decoding” a persons “genome.”  It’s all nonsense – and I’ll be writing more about this soon – however, it is today’s “modern science” for most professionals, and lay people.

Anyway, I wanted to develop a temperament metaphor using the wholeness idea.  At the time, there were a few other temperament metaphors for children, usually animals.  They included beaver and bear for Guardians, dolphin and unicorn for the Idealist, the owl for Rationals, and the fox (and monkey) for the Artisans.  They were okay, but I didn’t use them too much.  Both kids and parents often liked or didn’t like one animal over another, regardless of temperament.  Instead, I came up with the idea of geometric shapes.  They are unique from one another, and each alone has no particular meaning or value.  Shapes are neutral.

So, I started with the Artisans, about 40% of all earthlings (I was still calling them “SP’s” way back then).  I thought of a star almost immediately for the Artisan.  There are an abundance of stars in the sky, no two the same, but all of them must shine, each a little differently.  While the star symbol I chose is yellow, Stars come in all colors.  The most stylish of all temperaments, Stars also need a stage and must have an audience to appreciate their art – even the quiet ones.  So, without much ado, young Artisans became Stars for me.

Squares, about half the Earth’s population, came to me quickly too.  A square has a solid foundation, and all right angles. Two squares next to each other make a rectangle, rectangles make foundations, and foundations are the building blocks of our society.  I used black and white for the Square because there is very little “grey area” from the perspective of the Guardian.  Right is right, and wrong is wrong, period, so says the Square.  Also, though a little outdated, the slang use of the word “square” seems to fit for the work first-play later, serious minded, routine oriented, industrious, diligent Guardian.

The quest for self-actualization by the Idealist lead me to the Sphere (I made a silly choice in the beginning and used the term “Circle” instead of Sphere because I thought sphere was too hard to pronounce!).  The Sphere must be whole.  A Sphere is symmetrical, symbolic of many Idealists yearning for authenticity.  There’s also a “glow” to the Sphere not found in other shapes, and points to the natural warmth these rare individuals provide.  Though I chose red to signify the heart they tend to wear on their sleeves, Spheres can glow in different colors when engaged with other people.  Keirsey has said that the world could use more Idealists.  He was right about that too.  Only about one in twenty among us are the imaginative, harmonious, people-loving Spheres.

The cube took a long time coming, for some reason.  I thought of a few geometric shapes including a triangle, a pentagon, a cone, a pyramid, even a cylinder.  I settled on the cube, after a while, for the often odd young rational.  Some of you may remember the “Borg” from the 2nd generation Star Trek series.  This half human, half machine, impeccably logical, emotion-free entity traveled the Universe – in a cube.  Ironically, a cube has the unique property of “changing shapes” right in fromt of you.  That is, if you stare at a three dimensional cube on a two dimensional page long enough, you’ll notice that sometimes the cube points to the left, and then, just as quickly, it points to the right.[ii]

Once I decided on these shapes, the rest was easy.  At my workshops, attendees where expected to know their own temperament when they arrived, or soon afterward.  I gave them a nametag with the appropriate shape, and for the next six hours we had some fun, had some great discussions, and the participants left with new ways to interact with their children, and a new perspective about themselves too.  I did this, off and on, for the next 20 years in dozens of foster care and residential facilities in California.

Then, a little more than two years ago, David Keirsey and I went out to lunch.  It was our first meeting in nearly 30 years.  I told him what I had been doing, I gave him some of my material, and I told him about the shapes – or forms – that I had been using for each temperament.  I was a little nervous, as you might imagine.

He didn’t like Star, in the beginning.  I told him the metaphor was about the star on stage, and their need to shine.  “Oh,” he said, “that’s what you mean.  I like that.”  He liked the Square for Guardians, and he really liked the Cube for the Rationals.  I told him I was using the term “circle” for “sphere,” and my reasoning to do so.  He found my reasoning – that sphere was hard to pronounce – rather weak.  “It’s not so hard to pronounce,” he said with a grin, and a little sarcasm, “listen.  Sphere.”  So, sphere it is.  He also said:  “Am I the first to notice that the Cube and the Sphere are three dimensional?”  He was, other than me.  “The extra dimension,” he said, “is imagination.”  Right again, Dr. Keirsey, right again.

I had his blessings, finally, and that meant a great deal to me.  I also went over the slogans I created for the four shapes.  His son Mark was with us for that, and they both approved.  They are:

STARS – “Do your own thing!”  

SPHERES – “To thine own self be true”

 CUBES – “Looking for a better idea”

SQUARES – Longing for belonging”

So, to the point, what are these “techniques” that I’ve been talking about, and how are they used with temperaments?  Well, first, I’ll give some details about the observable behavior for each of the four shapes.  I’ll start with the Stars, the most “troubling” of the young temperaments.


[i] Continuing Education Units – This is required annual training for most professionals.  More here.

[ii] This phenomenon is called – fittingly enough – a “Gestalt.” You can see more Gestalt images here, and you can read about Getalt principles here.

~~~~~~~~~~

NEXT TIME:  Temperament Traits – STARS

Star Traits Page

Note from the Lone Arranger: About “The Horrible Kid”


Lone Ranger JPEG

For a number of personal and professional reasons, I’ve been away from my blog for much too long.  I’ve heard from a few of you, wondering if I was going to finish “The Horrible Kid.”  I did.  It’s  longer than the other chapters however, I wanted to finish the story.   Thank you for your patience, and your interest.

For now, to follow directly after this post, please see “THE HORRIBLE KID – Chapter IV:  A tale from the Lone Arranger.”  Thanks.

Dr. C

“Mondays with David”

Keirsey Picture 3 

It has taken me more than a month to write this.

My friend, David West Keirsey, died July 30, 2013.  He was 91.  I’m so proud, and fortunate, to call him my friend.  Up until a few years ago, he was Professor Keirsey to me, and I hadn’t seen nor spoke to him for 30 years.

As far as I know, Dr. Keirsey was humankind’s last Gestalt psychologist, and that’s something you should know.  His ideas are historic, and I’ll be writing much more about them, and similar things, for the rest of my life.  First, though, before I tell you more about Dr. Keirsey, I want to tell you about my friend, David, and the loves in his life.

David loved his country.  He was a proud veteran of World War II.  He joined the Navy in 1942. After flight training, he took his commission as a Marine fighter pilot and flew several missions in Japan towards the end of the war.  He wrote in some detail about his military experience in his autobiographical essay, Turning Points.

Those times, and the depression before the war, had a lifelong impact on David, as it did with everyone from the greatest generation.  He believed we were morally obligated to fight World War II, and he knew many who gave their lives protecting our freedoms.  He considered himself lucky to come home, and grateful, for the rest of his life, that he did.  Thank you David, for your service, from all of us.

David loved questions.  For the past 18 months or so I’ve been meeting with him on Mondays for three or four hours, often with his son David Mark, talking about temperament and psychology, and many other things.  I often took notes on my iPad.  I put them in my “Mondays with David” file on my computer.  I love asking questions, he loved answering, so our friendship grew.  We had much to talk about, and it was always fun. (You can read more about this from a prior blog, here.)

At times he became frustrated, his memory sometimes needing more and more of his depleted energy.  When I arrived for a visit I’d often ask, “how was your weekend David?”  He’d reply, with a smile, “I don’t remember, but I’m sure it was fine.”  Once he added, again with a smile, “. . . although I could try to retrieve the information for you if you wish.”  It takes energy to retrieve information.  At 91, you have the privilege of choosing where you want to spend your energy.  It was a polite question anyway.  I always knew where he was every weekend.  He was with his wife and his family.  He cherished his weekends.

Once we started talking about something he was interested in, he became focused, taking his memory to task, retrieving important ideas, if triggered by the right question.  Precision, more than anything, was his forte, organizing and analyzing ideas to a depth only a very few can imagine, simplicity his reasoned pursuit, efficiency always a welcome bi-product.  He never stopped “tinkering,” often spending hours at the computer, changing single words at a time in his many essays about temperament and “madness.”

I put madness in quotes because, well, David wouldn’t have it any other way.  Professor David West Keirsey was so much more than temperament theory.  His humane, holistic, and thoughtful explanation of “madness,” is above all else, his legacy to humankind, as far as I’m concerned.  His seminal work, Dark Escape, provides our species, for the first time in human history, a way out of the “madness” of modern day psychology and psychiatry.  I will be writing much more about this.

 David loved to read.  He read everything.  I mean everything.  I mean anything, and everything, and that started when he was a seven year old, and it never stopped.  The last time I saw him he was reading a favorite novel, for the fifth time.  Why?  “I might find something new – and I like it!” he said.  This wasn’t unusual.  From Turning Points:

I began reading when I was seven. Read (most of) a twelve volume set of books my parents bought, Journeys through Bookland. Read countless novels thereafter, day in and day out. I educated myself by reading books. Starting at age nine my family went to the library once a week, I checking out two or three novels which I would read during the week. Then, when I was sixteen, I read my father’s copy of Will Durant’s The Story of Philosophy. I read it over and over again, now and then re-reading his account of some of the philosophers. (Long afterwards I read his magnificent eleven volumes—The Story of Civilization. I also have read his The Lessons of History many times, this being his brilliant summary of the eleven volumes.)

I mention Durant’s book The Story of Philosophy because it was a turning point in my life, I to become a scholar as did Durant, thereafter reading the philosophers and logicians—anthropologists, biologists, ethologists, ethnologists, psychologists, sociologists, and, most important, the etymologists, all of the latter—Ernest Klein, Eric Partridge, Perry Pepper, and Julius Pokorny—of interest to me now as then.

So, I said to myself, who better to ask questions than someone who has read everything – over and over?  He had so many useful answers.  I’ll be sharing them with you too.

David loved words.  Not as a wordsmith or author, though he was certainly both.  He loved words as an etymologist – the only one I’ve ever met.  He often said he may be the only one left.  David studied words.  From Turning Points:

I became a scholar, one of three boys in the scholarship society in 1942. I took a course in word study. I have studied words ever since, even during the war, pasting lists of words on the bathroom mirror wherever I stayed. Why etymology (word signs) instead of linguistics (word sounds)? Because word sounds shorten with use becoming only remnants of what they were, while word signs are written and therefore remain the same. My interest was in what is written, not in what is spoken.”     

Many times on Mondays, triggered by something we were talking about, we’d go upstrairs and sit at his computer in his comfortable, book-filled library – me to his left, him behind the keyboard – looking at an online etymology site, researching a word.  He called it “fun” and, wouldn’t you know it, so did I.

David loved kids.  He started working with troublesome teenagers at the Verdemont Boys Ranch as a young psychologist, figuring out ways to manage these boys, and to help their families.  He worked in schools most of his career, doing the same, training thousands of teachers and counselors and psychologists in methods that work, not theories that don’t.  He began collecting the many techniques to manage and counsel adults and children that was to become the core of his one-of-a-kind, and highly successful Counseling Psychology graduate program at California State University, Fullerton.

He wrote some remarkable essays in defense of children, and every parent and professional should read them.  So, please, do that.  You can read Drugged Obedience in the School here, and The Evil Practice of Narcotherapy for Attention Deficit here, and The Great ADD Hoax, here.  There are many other important and useful essays you will find at the same site.

His solution to helping troubled and troublesome children?  “Be nice to them, and keep them away from those drugs.”  We had a lot in common about kids.  I’ll also be writing about useful child management techniques, from a temperament point of view.

David loved his family.  David Mark, his son and lifelong companion, joined our Monday morning conversations often, and I cherished those times in particular.  A gifted computer scientist, David Mark called his father “Daddy.”  He honored his father.

The two of them could, and often would, debate an obscure, yet important idea with the same passion as when the debate started 30, or 40, or even 50 years earlier.  His father honored him too.  Often, when it was just David and me, he would boast about his son Mark, as fathers who love their sons often do.  How lucky they were to have each other.  I envied them.

Every weekend David and his wife Alice went to Del Mar to meet with the rest of the Keirsey clan and, when they didn’t, family members came to their home.  David and Alice traveled and vacationed with their children and grandchildren.  The two of them together made sure they gave their family the best gift you can give to people you love:  wonderful memories.

Mostly, David loved Alice.  What was the first thing this returning WW II veteran did when he came back from the war?  He married his junior college sweetheart, Alice.  He admired her so.  “Alice has done such a wonderful job of keeping our family together and close over the years,” he often said, with much pride.

When you walk up the circular stairs of their beautiful home you will meet all of the family.  Alice has dozens of family pictures and other mementos adorned on the walls and on the stairs – and everywhere else throughout their warm, loving home.  This, you can tell, is a family that cares for each other, and they are grateful to have each other to love.  I recognized their family quickly.  I come from one too.

Alice – he called her “babe” – from they way he liked to tell it, was a dynamo of her own when she was working in elementary schools.  David said she was always the head of a department or committee or project, or part of some other crusade to care for all those kids for which she loved and cared.

They never quarreled, he told me, more than once, because, he said, more than once, “we were made for each other.”  That certainly proved to be true.  They were married in December, 1945.  I was two months old.

Why did it take so long to write this, and anything else, for that matter?  Well, honestly, I’ve been mourning my friend.  Just a few days before he died, my wife and I visited David and Alice at their home.  As we were leaving, I leaned over, gently grasped his hand to say goodbye, and to tell him, “I’ll see you soon, David.  I have another two or three thousand more questions to ask.”  Without hesitation, he replied, “Good,” and added, “I have two or three thousand more answers.”

His spirit, more than willing, his body, so weary.  During some of our best conversations, he would remind me, and David Mark, “there’s still much work to be done.”  Lucky for me, he trusted me with all that he has written.  The answers to my questions are all there, and that’s good.  I will be doing a lot more reading.  It’s not the same though, and not nearly as much fun, as asking my friend, David, just a few more questions.

You can tell a lot about a person when you know the loves in his life.  I admired him.  I loved him too.  I miss him, very much.

Mondays, for me, will never be the same.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“I just want the world to understand, there’s no such thing as ‘madness.’”

David West Keirsey

How’s Business?

HOW'S BUS 2 GRAPHIC

Business has never been better, thanks for asking.

As long as the public – you and I – continue to demand newer and better quick fix chemicals, we act as a sales force for this huge industry.  Psychiatry, like any business, is subject to market pressure.  Right now, there is pressure to create more and more chemicals for more and more “diseases.”  Our demand is met, happily, by their supply.

Let’s take a quick look at “ADHD,” just one example out of hundreds of fake diseases.  “ADHD” has been a financial boon for Big Pharma.  It’s been increasing nearly 6% a year for the past decade.  In America – like no other country on earth – one of every 12 children between the ages of 3 and 17 are given this tag, most of them prescribed an amphetamine (“speed”).  That’s more than five million American teenagers, grammar school kids, and toddlers – most of them boys. (See CDC FastStat here)

And, dear parents, your doctor can choose from 61 different chemicals for “ADHD” – with more on the horizon.  There are 78 chemicals for depression, and there are 7 “kinds” of depression.  Antipsychotic chemicals?  26.  There are 12 chemicals to treat autism, the most maligned of all children, as you will see in an upcoming essay.  Anxiety disorder of some sort?  There are 188 chemicals in 9 different “topics” to help you if you are too anxious.  Anxiety “relief,” as you can tell, is a big seller.  (See Drugs.com here.)

What’s A DSM?
Let’s get a picture of the growth of this industry in the past 60 years.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) is psychiatry’s modern day witches brew.  It contains all the American Psychiatric Association (APA) approved “diseases.”  If it’s not in the book, it’s not a “disease.”

In 1952, there were 106.  In 1968, the second edition of DSM was published.  There were 182 “diseases.”  The third edition, published in 1980, had 265, and then was revised in 1987 to total 292.  And, finally, in 1994, the fourth edition contained 297 “diseases” – and if you count the “disorders,” it’s over 400 (see the entire list here).  No cures, you may remember.  Treatment only, usually forever, because mental health “diseases,” once diagnosed, according to the vast majority of psychiatrists, last forever.  Ask them.  (See more about the DSM here.)

The DSM is a billing device for the profession, nothing else.  It has no other value.  Still, as a billing device, everyone must use it.  By everyone I mean government, big business, non-profits, academia, licensed individuals, public and private providers, schools – everyone.  Without a diagnosis from the DSM, no services will be given; not without a designated name and number from this book of incantations.  (See upcoming article Diagnosing for Dollars soon)

So, you can see, it pays to be in the book.

DSM V –  Progressing Backwards
The DSM is being revised again, due in May of 2013.  If you guessed there would be more diseases, you’d be right.  One addition is particularly egregious.  Grief.  If you lose a loved one, and if you don’t snap out of it after a few weeks, you are “diagnosable.”  I’m not kidding.  Complicated Grief Disorder (CGD) is in the book.  Ethical professionals from all disciplines are screaming at this “medicalizing” of human sorrow.

For the record, and full of irony, no one is screaming louder than Dr. Allen Frances, the Chairman of the DSM IV Task Force.  The irony is that the biggest foe of the fifth book of diseases is the psychiatrist who led the group that wrote the fourth book of diseases.  For many of us, editions 1-4 are just as unscientific and nonsensical as the fifth, though the latest version is now, officially, the worst. (More about Dr. Frances and the DSM V controversy here.)

Not quite everyone is screaming, by the way.

Not the DSM Task force, for sure.  They voted CGD into the book.  Certainly not Big Pharma.  They’re applauding.  Their market was increased.  Now that your new “disease” is in the book you can be prescribed one or more of those 188 “anti-anxiety” chemicals already available.  This will have to do until the new and improved “anti-grief” chemical is developed.

Then there’s this.

At first it appeared – and then it was confirmed – that 70% of the DSM V Task Force members have reported direct industry ties.”  New diseases are proposed every year.  The people making those decisions are benefitting from those decisions, as are their “industry ties,” as they decide who wins and who loses. Many professionals, including me, are crying foul about the ethics of the task force whose members openly admit their connection to Big Pharma, mostly to deaf ears. (More about DSM V here.)

Who are the winners?
The scientists and doctors from Academia and Big Pharma corporations who get their newest “disease” in the book are the winners, and it’s very competitive.  Major Universities and massive corporations – and individuals with “connections” – stand in line to present their self funded “research.”  If you can get an unwanted behavior proclaimed a “disease” by the disease proclaimers – the DSM Task Force – and placed in the book, then the doctors, universities and corporations who invented the “diseases” will be enriched because, well . . .  because we give them fistfuls of money for their products.

Big Pharma’s most important customer, by the way, is the doctor, not you.  Doctors, after all, are the ones who sell their products to us.  While these companies aim their endless advertisements to entice you, it’s the doctor who has the power to grant permission, and they are the focus of the Big Pharma’s substantial financial coffers.  From an article from Time: Health & Family, Psychiatrist Contends the Field Is Committing Professional Suicide,” October, 2012:

In 2004 alone, pharmaceutical companies spent about $58 billion on marketing, 87% of which was aimed squarely at the roughly 800,000 Americans with the power to prescribe drugs. The money was spent mainly on free drug samples and sales visits to doctors’ offices; studies find that both free samples and sales calls increase prescribing of brand-name drugs and raise medical costs without improving care.  (Read more: here.)

And talk about lucrative.  Global sales of pharmaceuticals was nearly 800 billion through 2008, and is likely to be closing in on a trillion dollars annual income now.  Thanks to their customers – us –  90% of those sales occur in the United States.

5 Million and Counting
Finally, let’s talk just a bit more about those 5 million kids given doses of “speed” for “ADHD.”  That’s a lot of kids.  For this to be true, you have to believe American kids are much less healthy than kids in rest of the world.  Or, is it that the rest of the world’s kids are just as unhealthy as ours, only they don’t know it?

Maybe it’s because our healthcare services are state-of-the-art, our workforce so well trained, the research and science from our Universities so sophisticated that we’re just that much better at “diagnosing” ADHD in kids who need medical help.  This explanation, by the way, is what both Academia and Big Pharma wants us to believe.  Our system, they say, is modern and compassionate, and that’s why we can, and do, provide so much needed medical care to “mentally ill” children.

By now, I trust, you know this isn’t true for a lot of reasons we’ve already discussed.  The most important reason?  I think you already know.

Your kids aren’t sick.

NEXT:  Here’s Where We’re Going

A brief interlude 2 . . .

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Well, maybe not so brief an interlude.

I’ve been off my blog for several months, though I haven’t been idle.  I’m ready to get back to it.  Let me tell you why.

I’m now on the Board of Directors of the International Society for Ethical Psychiatrists and Psychologists (ISEPP), and I’m the newly named Membership Director.  I joined ISEPP three years ago when I retired.  It’s the only group I’ve ever joined.  We are professionals, parents, psychiatric survivors, and others dedicated to ending the use of the medical model and those abusive chemicals we take for fictitious diseases.  As a reminder, I’m here to convince you the use of chemicals to “treat” unwanted behaviors in adults and children is modern day voodoo.  We count ourselves in the hundreds at ISEPP, though our network has tens of thousands  – and we’re growing.  You can find more about ISEPP here.

By the way, here’s a recent article you may want to read.  It’s about “neuroscience,” and “neurology,” and “neurolinguistics,” and “neural pathways in the brain” – and other “neuro-babbles.”  It’s called Your Brain on Pseudoscience:  The Rise of Popular Neurobollocks. It’s written for us to read, by Stephen Poole, a British author and journalist.  He’s not a scientist and the article isn’t about science.  It’s about false science, and how we are duped daily.  It’s a little long, about 2500 words, but it’s interesting and worth your time.  When you can, spend 20 minutes here.

And if I haven’t mentioned him before, I should have. Robert Whitaker is another journalist, American born, who authored what many of us consider to be the most important book written on the subject.  It’s had national acclaim and recognition, and it’s written for you and me.  Titled Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America, if you read it, you’ll never be able to view psychiatry in the same way again.  You can find it everywhere.

What’s Next?

I’ll be picking up where I left off on my blog.  My last entry was YKAS 5:  A Most Valued Customer.  YKAS 6 & 7 will be following soon.  YKAS is a series of articles that will become an iBook soon.  Your Kids Aren’t Sick has been a project for a few years, and I’ll be finishing it this year.

After YKAS 6 & 7, we’ll be talking about chemicals, starting with, of all things, snails, followed by the history of salt.  You’ll also find out about Mr. Unhappimon, my chemistry teacher when I was 19.  He was a terrible teacher, but I learned something valuable about chemicals and their effects on human beings.  Not because of what he said.  Instead, it was something he did – in front of the entire classroom.  I’ll be telling you, too, a story of a young mother’s “adrenaline rush,” and how that experience that will put into question everything you think you know about psychiatry.

Most important, we’ll get focused on all those those chemicals your friendly psychiatric doctor wants us to take for our “mental disorders.”  You may think of yourself as informed about “anti-depressant,” “anti-psychotic,” and “anti-anxiety” medication, to name a few.  If you dismiss the medical model as I do – as well as hundreds of thousands of others – then you know these terms are meaningless and worse, their names mask the true and undeniable toxic and disorienting effects chemicals have on our body.  You know them as “side effects.”  As you’ll see, there’s nothing “side” about these effects.  You’ll meet Dr. Grace Jackson, in time, who will tell us much more about these harmful chemicals and their lifelong effects on our physical well being.

Speaking of chemicals, here’s 497 chemicals you can find for just 14 of the 400+ “psychiatric diseases” found in the latest incantation of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM V), psychiatry’s bag of tricks:

  1. ADHD (62 drugs in 2 topics)
  2. Agitation (19 drugs in 3 topics)
  3. Anxiety (117 drugs in 7 topics)
  4. Autism (11 drugs in 2 topics)
  5. Bipolar Disorder (65 drugs in 4 topics)
  6. Body Dysmorphic Disorder (9 drugs)
  7. Borderline Personality Disorder (10 drugs)
  8. Depression (101 drugs in 7 topics)
  9. Intermittent Explosive Disorder (4 drugs)
  10. Neurosis (2 drugs)
  11. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (23 drugs in 4 topics)
  12. Paranoid Disorder (5 drugs)
  13. Psychosis (14 drugs in 2 topics)
  14. Schizophrenia (55 drugs in 2 topics)
                                      (Source:  drugs.com here)

You may remember, at YKAS, there are only four kinds of chemicals:  stimulants (“uppers”), depressants (“downers”), hallucinogens (“confusers”), and tranqulizers (“calmers”).  Imagine, if you will, that it’s possible to take all those different chemicals that Big Pharma cleverly sells to us for every uncomfortable emotion and experience imaginable, and place them into one of these four categories.  It’s that’s simple, and you’ll be surprised how useful.

I’ll also be adding to the “Meet .  .  .” series as well.  There are a number of people I’d like you to know.  The next one you’ll meet, Tom Bratter, was a kindred spirit.  My one and only conversation with him last year was over the phone for half an hour.  We were going to meet, and talk, at the conference in Philadelphia.  He died last August.  You’ll meet him and you’ll understand why.  Likewise, I’ll be continuing the “Here’s something . . .” series as well.  These will occur as I find interesting information and sources for you to ponder.

The Tales of the Lone Arranger

I’m adding a new series of articles too, dubbed “The Tales of the Lone Arranger.  Why that name?  Two reasons.

The first and most important is David West Keirsey.  I learned in my continuing talks with Doctor Keirsey that, in temperament terms, I’m an “arranger.”  He continues to fine tune his theory, tinkering with his words every day, precision and simplicity his goal.  Thirty years ago I was an “INTJ Skeptic,” then an “INTJ/Mastermind.”  He has since abandoned the letters and metaphors, replacing them with words that describe what a person does. In his own inimitable way, Dr. Keirsey has settled on “arranger” for my type.  And, not surprisingly, the term fits like a glove.  It’s what I do.

The second reason?  My favorite TV Saturday morning cowboy show in the early ‘50’s – and there were lots of them – was The Lone Ranger.  I’ll tell you a little more about both of them soon.

The Tales of the Lone Arranger will be about children I knew and counseled, from a temperament point of view.  To remind you, I use the terms Stars (Artisans), Squares (Guardians), Spheres (Idealists), and Cubes (Rationals) to describe the four Keirseyan temperaments of children.  I’ll tell you more about those names, and their “nicknames” too.

The first tale – Goth Girl – is about a 14 year old Sphere (Idealist) who was heavily medicated.  After a “72-hour hold” in a psychiatric hospital, Evie was placed in my facility.  She was “goth,” she was hearing voices, and she was a “cutter.”  She purposely took sharp objects and scratched her arms and legs until they bled.  Like all Spheres, it’s about their feelings – or abscence of them.  The story has a good ending – at least from the last contact I had with her mother a few years ago.

There will be more temperament tales to follow.  While so-called “normal” childhood behaviors follow observable temperament patterns to trained eyes, so too are the patterns of troubled and troublesome children.  Children “act-out” their shame in ways consistent with their temperament, and therein lies clues for adults who want to intervene.

I’m working on some other articles as well that I will likely post at a different site, only because of the length. Diagnosing for Dollars is about our Medicaid system and how professional providers are mandated to diagnose “mental diseases,” so they can be paid for their services.

I’m just about done with an article titled Sergeant Bales.  You may remember Sergeant Bales.  He was responsible for the slaughter of 17 innocent Afghanistan villagers.  He is just now coming to trial.  The article is about the rush of some of my colleagues to declare that the “cause” of this horror was the “psyche meds” the Sergeant may or may not have been taking.  I believe this idea suffers from the same false logic and science of those who declare that there’s a “chemical imbalance” that “causes” violent acts.  Many of my like-minded colleagues do not agree with me about this.  We’ll see if you do.

I’m also beginning another article I’m calling It’s A No-Brainer I’m more convinced than ever that modern neurology, psychiatry, and other “brain sciences” has nothing to teach us about human psychology.  I voraciously look for information daily.  Based on speculation, tired theories, and unproven science, the fundamentals of how the brain works is simply not known when it comes to personality, psychological distress, and human behavior.  Well, at least that’s what I’ll be saying.

I’m also about done with an article about Sandy Hook.  I don’t know of another incident in my lifetime that shook our country as deeply and as profoundly as the news of the twenty children, six educators, and one mother who were murdered on December 14, 9:30 AM, EST.  It changed our culture, and our national conversation.  I’ll have some thoughts about guns and violence and mental health and Hollywood.  I’m calling the article 300,000,000.

Finally, just a reminder:  You’re kids aren’t sick, and neither are you.

Now, back to work.  I have a lot of writing to do.

Dr. C

If we want a child to change his direction, we must understand what makes him move.

                                                                                         –  Rudolf Dreikers, M.D.

 

YKAS 5: A Most Valued Customer – Your Child

First Contact – Someone is “Concerned”
It usually starts like this for parents of active kids – especially parents blessed with very active kids.

There’s a call from your child’s teacher.  You were half expecting it.  About two weeks earlier you met with her about your nine year-old’s behavior in the classroom.  She said he’s a nice enough boy, very cute, however, he’s inattentive and easily distracted.  That, and he’s much too active during classroom hours.  Oddly enough, you’ve seen him at home when he’s using the PlayStation III.  That too active, inattentive kid can be so focused on the TV screen he won’t budge – even if it’s pizza for dinner.  He seems intensely attentive, to the point you have to pry him away from the game.

Nevertheless, this time the teacher tells you “. . . your child still isn’t paying attention and he continues to be up and down all day long, and we are concerned.”  She said “we,” so now you know there’s at least one other person at the school who’s concerned, and that concerns you.

The teacher said she would like to refer your child to the school psychologist for an “evaluation,” with your consent.  Your concern increases so, of course, you consent.  After all, these are the experts, you reason, and you must trust them.

They know best.

The Disease Model Indoctrination Process
You have a meeting with the school psychologist.  She’s a doctor of some kind, and you’re a little intimidated.  While you were expecting her to test your child, you’re given a behavioral questionnaire to complete too.  You didn’t expect that, but that’s good.  At least something is being done to help your son, and the experts are being thorough.

You’re beginning to learn about the process, and you’re impressed.

In a week or so, you’re informed the evaluation is done, and you’re asked to attend another meeting.  You’ve been worried and you’ll be glad to get an answer.  Then you get your answer.  The psychologist recommends you seek medical assistance for your child because he likely has “attention deficit disorder” with, God forbid, “hyperactivity.”  She uses the term “disorder” for the first time, and it unsettles you.  She tells you she can’t treat him because “this is a medical problem.”

A doctor of psychology recommends you seek help from a doctor of medicine.

Enter the MD – With Chemicals
By now, you know this is serious.  You have to inform your family too, and that won’t be easy.  You’re a conscientious parent, and you’re persistent.  You want the best for your child, so you search for a “child psychiatrist,” as others have suggested.  Maybe someone you know, or the school, makes a referral. If you’re “lucky,” you’ll find one.

You do, and you make an appointment.  The nurse takes your child’s vitals, you provide a family medical history, and they’re done with your child.  You’re a little surprised.  You were expecting something more “medical.”  Maybe an x-ray, a blood test, a “scan” of some kind, or another medical procedure that can be measured or weighed or looked at – something.  After all, that psychologist told you “this is a medical problem.”

You’re learning a little more about the process.

A Family Changing Event – The Diagnosis
You meet with the doctor and, for the most part, you do most of the talking.  You tell him about the school’s concern and the tests from the psychologist.  Maybe your child is asked a few questions, maybe not.  It doesn’t matter.  He’s not there to talk.  He really doesn’t need to be there at all.  The doctor is there to make a diagnosis based on the information you give him.  The doctor’s only function is to do nothing, or prescribe a chemical – and he can’t prescribe a chemical without a diagnosis.

Within 10 to 20 minutes, the child psychiatrist has heard enough and says “. . . I’m prescribing a chemical to help with your son’s Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.”  Maybe he calls it a “mental illness, or a “mental disability,” or “mental disorder,” or “psychiatric disease” or just plain “disorder.”  It’s what you expected.  You’ve talked with family and friends before this meeting. Still, hearing it for the first time from an MD makes it much too real.

There’s a brief explanation of the “disorder.”  He says something about “brain chemistry” and some sort of “imbalance,” and you know he mentioned “dopamine.”  You know you’ve read about dopamine somewhere.  It all sounded so “medical.”  The special chemical he’s giving your son, you’re told, helps to fix all this, so that your son will sit still in his chair during school hours, and so your son will do his school work when the teacher tells him to do his school work.

You’re anxious to get the treatment part of the process started.

How Soon Will It Work?
Well, you first have to know it will take some time – a few weeks, maybe more, maybe less –  for the chemical to begin to have an “effect” because it has to “build up in his bloodstream.”  Once in his bloodstream, you may begin to see some improvement, although there will undoubtedly be some “adjustments” along the way due to unpredictable yet very common “side effects.”  It’s been made clear to you:  there will be good days, and there will be bad days.

Strangely enough, you’re still a little relieved.  At least the medical doctor knows what your child “has,” and you leave the office confident this new chemical will help your child in school, and that’s all that matters.  You privately fret your child has a “disease” or “disorder,” and you’re not clear how long your son will have to take this chemical – the doctor was vague about predictions – nonetheless, you’re reassured, and optimistic.

The teacher is pleased you are taking steps to help your son.  The school is happy too, and, to some degree, so are you.  You find comfort when you hear, over and over from friends and professionals, “it’s just like diabetes.”*  That means, thankfully, your son’s “ADHD” can be “treated,” with the right chemical.

He’s Just A Little Flawed
About your child, well, at some point you have to explain to him he has a “handicap ” –  or “disorder,” or “disease,” or a “mental illness” or, maybe, “an imbalance” – and that’s why he’s not sitting still, and that’s why he’s not paying attention to the teacher in school, and that’s why he needs this chemical to help him.  It’s tricky, but with the advice of others who’ve gone through the same thing, you do it.  You make sure he understands he’s not responsible for his unwanted behavior in the classroom.  You make sure he understands it’s not him, it’s not you, it’s not his teacher, it’s not his school – it’s his “disease.”

Four months go by and you’re disappointed.  Yes, the teacher said she saw “some initial improvement,” but a month later, she began to complain again.  You’ve had two “follow-up” appointments with the doctor to “review” your son’s chemicals to find out how they are helping or not helping.  At the last appointment he increased the dosage of the chemical.  Now, at this appointment, he’s suggesting a change of chemicals “that has less side effects, and better results.”  Of course, this means this new chemical will have to “build up in his bloodstream” too, and there will be new “adjustments” to make along the way.

By this time, you’ve done research, so this wasn’t unexpected.  You’ve surfed the web for the past few months, read dozens of articles, and you’ve talked with other parents who also have children with “disorders.”  Changing chemicals, up and down doses, extra chemicals for the “side effects” is the rule – not the exception.  You’ve talked with some parents whose children are taking 3 or 4, or as many a 5 different chemicals.  You hope you don’t get there.

Don’t Worry – It’s “Normal”
You’re troubled too.  He’s not sleeping well.  His appetite comes and goes.  He’s not doing any better in school either – maybe a little worse – and now they’re talking about special classes, and you have to make some decisions.  On top of that the doctor says he can give you another chemical to help with the “side effects” of the first chemical.  You have to think about that one.  You do, and you agree.

Your child seems to be a little more distressed too, a little more unhappy, a little more frustrated, maybe a little more angry.  You are too – all of it.  It’s going to be a longer road than you expected, but you’re going to stay with it and do whatever is necessary.

You know by now from your doctor, through your research, and by talking with other parents, all of this is a “normal part of the process.”

And It’s Done
You and your child are now willing, all-in customers of the disease model of “modern” psychiatry.  You can’t stop the “treatment” now.  It’s been made clear to you, and you know it as fact, your son has a “medical condition.”  Now you’re the one who educates others that “it’s just like diabetes,” and you wouldn’t dare stop treating diabetes.

You now know everything you need to know about the process.  You’re indoctrinated.  You’re an advocate.  You’re an expert.  You’re fully prepared to indoctrinate another parent.

And so it goes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For a very real, very recent example of the indoctrination process, read a mothers story about her experience with her 8-year old son – and how he’s doing now – in her article in the NY Times:  “Raising the Ritalin Generation” here.

* See “It’s Just Like Diabetes” in the forthcoming essay:  Psychi-Babble – Psycho-Babble’s Evil Twin

NEXT:  How’s Business?

YKAS 4: The Business of Selling Chemicals

This is the fourth in a series of essays on the YKAS blog.
The original article – Your Kids Aren’t Sick –  can be read here.

Let’s Call Them Chemicals
If you’ve read my prior essays, you may have noticed by now.  I don’t refer to them as “medications” or “drugs.”  I call them what they are: chemicals.  I’ll continue to use that term, so, please, while you may consider Valium or Xanax or Mellaril as medication, I refer to them as chemicals.  Likewise, you may think of heroin, cocaine, and marijuana as drugs.  Here, all illicit drugs are called chemicals too.  In that way, we don’t have to be concerned about why you take them or where you get them, and whether they are legal or illegal.  Instead, we only need to know what effects these chemicals have on people.

Does it Work?
The selling of psychiatric diseases and the chemicals that treat them is as much a political issue as it is a for-profit commodity.  A Big Pharma company prepares a sophisticated and detailed application to seek approval from the United States Government’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  New cancer chemicals, for example, must provide some evidence of success, or what is referred to in scientific circles as “efficacy” – as in “efficient.”  Doctor’s and their clients – you and I – need to know if the chemical is “efficacious.”  In other words, does it work?  After all, we pay taxes to make sure the chemicals created by business really do what they say they do, and to ensure business and government work together to produce safe products.

That’s the good news.

Off-Label Use.
However, and maybe you don’t know this, once a chemical is approved for cancer, for example, the newly approved “efficacious” chemical can be prescribed by a doctor for any human malady, regardless of what it was originally designed to treat.

If a pharmaceutical “rep” shows the doctor a “study” that “suggests” this same cancer chemical is effective for, let’s say carbuncles, then the doctor can prescribe the cancer chemical to his patient to battle carbuncles.  Despite the fact the chemical was thoroughly scrutinized by the FDA specifically for cancer treatment and nothing else, once approved a doctor can prescribe it for anything, and no one will bat an eye.  In the business, this is called “Off-Label Use.”  From Wikipedia here:

  • The FDA does not have the legal authority to regulate the practice of the medicine, and the physician may prescribe a drug off-label. Contrary to popular notion, it is legal in the United States and in many other countries to use drugs off-label, including controlled substances such as opiates.

What does this mean to you?  While the FDA is strident to ensure any new chemical they approve meets very rigid standards, once approved, any chemical can be prescribed for any human need by any doctor, anywhere, anytime.

So much for “efficacy.”

You can thank Big Pharma lobbyists and our bought-and-paid-for legislators working in tandem for this too clever and excessively obvious tactic to get around FDA scrutiny.  Together they made this practice “legal,” and there is no recourse for you or me.  Why do they do it?  Why do you think?  To widen their customer base.  Here’s an example.

Zoloft – The Miracle Chemical
If you’re not familiar with Zoloft, you should be.  In 2007, nearly 30 million prescriptions for Zoloft were written.  The chemical name is Setraline Hydrochloride.  It was created by Pfizer and approved by the FDA in 1991 as an “antidepressant.”  Once approved to treat depression, and thanks to that beneficial law, Pfizer got busy.

In the mid 90’s, by way of their self-financed “studies,” they “discovered” Zoloft was “better than a placebo” for treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. The “discovery” of this new use didn’t need the FDA’s approval or oversight.  Pfizer just declared it, and their sales force provided doctors with their “evidence.”  (By the way, the phrase “better than a placebo” is common in these studies.  More about that, and an explanation of the scientific-sounding-yet-phony phrase “double-blind studies” will follow in the essay “Psychi-Babble.”)

Pfizer was just getting started.  From the late 1990’s through the present, other amazing “discoveries” were made about this chemical – through Pfizer financed “studies.”  Take a look:

  • By 2000, they tell us, “in four large double-bind studies setraline was shown to be superior to a placebo for the treatment of panic disorder.” 
  • By 2003, “studies” showed setraline was “successfully used for the treatment of social anxiety disorder.” 
  • Around this same time, and through the same means, setraline was found to be “effective” for Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder
  • And, though not nearly done, this same miracle chemical was subjected to two “double-blind studies” that “confirmed the efficacy of setraline for severe chronic Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) in civilians.”

Let’s Keep Score
This one miraculous chemical can treat 1) depression – the original approval – as well as; 2) obsessive-compulsive disorder; 3) panic disorder; 4) social phobia; 5) premenstrual dysphoric disorder and; 6) posttraumatic stress disorder.  You’d think that would be enough, as ridiculous as this already is.

Think again.  There’s more to come.

There are “indications,” we are told, from the latest “placebo-controlled double-blind clinical trials,” that Zoloft may also be useful for: 7) Generalized Anxiety Disorder; 8) binge eating disorder; 9) night eating syndrome; 10) bulimia nervosa; 11) syncope (fainting) in children and adolescents and – who would have thought; 12) premature ejaculation.

That’s six official uses now, with six more on the horizon.  An even dozen.  We’re told more “studies” are needed to confirm these “indications.” Do you think Pfizer will make sure the studies get done?  What do you think the outcomes will be when they do?  (For more information about Zoloft, see Setraline here.)

 Business As Usual
This is how it’s done.  It’s an “efficacious” business practice for all of Big Pharma.

If you create a toothpaste and you “discovered” a little later that the toothpaste was good for cuts and bruises too, as well as a lubricant for doorknobs, and it’s a good quick drying glue on top of that, my goodness, think of all the customers you’d have.

You’d be rich.

(You can read about PsychRights and attorney Jim Gottstein’s ongoing strategic litigation campaign against forced psychiatric drugging, electroshock and off-label use in the United State here.)

 NEXT:  A Most Valued Customer – Your Child