“Objectivity” does not come in a title

On the 17 July 2018 Professor Roy Perlis shared the publication of this paper in which he was lead author:

Professor Perlis who is Director, Center for Experimental Drugs and Diagnostics, Massachusetts General Hospital did so with this introductory statement:

“Papers suggesting that antidepressants are associated with adverse birth outcomes get published in JAMA and hyped on NPR and BBC. Think this one, suggesting the same for psychotherapy, will get noticed? Confounding by indication is the point, of course.”

Two senior Scottish Psychiatrists shared this paper by Professor Perlis. One was Professor Keith Matthews and the other was Dr David Christmas, both work for NHS Tayside.

In a post that I wrote in April 2018 I considered another recent paper by Professor Perlis, “Anxiety about Antidepressants” , where he considered “the cognitive and affective biases that may prevent effective treatment“. In this paper Professor Perlis referred to the recent publication in the Lancet of a Meta-analysis on antidepressant prescribing.  Professor Perlis seemed to suggest that the expert is free of bias (“objective”) and anyone who describes an experience which fails to concord with the expert view is  of less value (“subjective”).

1st March 2018, Professor Keith Matthews, NHS Tayside, expressed this opinion on the publication of the Lancet Meta-analysis on antidepressant prescribing: “All in all its been a bad few days for the ‘anti-medication’ cult and their followers.”

Dr David Christmas, NHS Tayside, was one of the authors of the 24 July 2014 Scottish Government publication “Key Information on the use of Antidepressants in Scotland”.

To a Cross Party Group on Mental Health held in the Scottish Parliament, 26th April 2017, he gave this evidence: “depression is under-recognised across all age groups, . . . maintenance treatment has a good risk-benefit ratio.”

In October 2005, Roy Perlis had this paper published: "Positive Clinical-Trial Results Linked to Competing Interests"

I share the view that non-financial competing interests matter. But let us start with the financial. We ask this of our elected parliamentarians.

 

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