Mad Developments

There is a lot of madness when it comes to psychiatry. One recent example of madness–perhaps insanity– is this faux peer review journal. At least there seems to be a growing counter-current in medicine that wants to sever the umbilical cord between doctors and drug companies as well as a vibrant grass roots move to embrace a different politics in and of madness.

Philosophy, Eugenics & Disability in Alberta and Places North – Simo Vehmas Part 1

On October 25, 2008, the What Sorts Network hosted a public symposium to examine, well, philosophy, eugenics, and disability in Alberta and places north.  Four speakers were featured on the panel, Dick Sobsey, Simo Vehmas, Martin Tweedale, and Rob Wilson.  This event was video recorded and over the next month we will highlight these videos on this blog.  Roughly four videos will be featured each week.

To download the full description of the symposium please click here.

With this video we begin the presentation by Simo Vehmas.  Simo’s presentation is titled “Preventing Disability: Nordic Perspectives” and it focuses on summarizing past and present attitudes towards eugenic practices in Nordic countries, principally Finland, with special attention paid to attitudes and ideas around eugenic practices of preventing disability.

Part 1

Highlights: Origins of eugenic ideas in Finland; use of eugenic practices to reinforce various social power structures; ineffectiveness of marriage regulations lead to sterilization practices; intersection of eugenics, morality and criminality.

A transcript follows the cut.

Continue reading

Philosophy, Eugenics & Disability in Alberta and Places North – Dick Sobsey Parts 3 & 4

On October 25, 2008, the What Sorts Network hosted a public symposium to examine, well, philosophy, eugenics, and disability in Alberta and places north.  Four speakers were featured on the panel, Dick Sobsey, Simo Vehmas, Martin Tweedale, and Rob Wilson.  This event was video recorded and over the next month we will highlight these videos on this blog.  Videos will be featured on average twice a week, roughly every Saturday and Wednesday.

To download the full description of the symposium please click here.

We began this series with the first two parts of the presentation by Dick Sobsey, titled “Varieties of Eugenics Experience in the 21st Century.”  This presentation amounts to a summary of various kinds of eugenic motivations, justifications, and practices from the 19th century to today with a good collection of anecdotes and trivia.  Parts 3 and 4 are highlighted in the videos below. Transcripts are also posted below.

Part 3

Highlights from part 3 include: criticism of Jukes as an assault upon the poor, best cement in the world, origin of the underground records for all the new york banks, continuing the Juke heritage, Dugdale’s findings, Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. on Sterilization, measures of intelligence and the Flynn Effect, and stopping people from having children easiest through institutionalization.

Continue reading

Philosophy, Eugenics & Disability in Alberta and Places North – Dick Sobsey Parts 1 & 2

On October 25, 2008, the What Sorts Network hosted a public symposium to examine, well, philosophy, eugenics, and disability in Alberta and places north.  Four speakers were featured on the panel, Dick Sobsey, Simo Vehmas, Martin Tweedale, and Rob Wilson.  This event was video recorded and over the next month we will highlight these videos on this blog.  Videos will be featured on average twice a week, roughly every Saturday and Wednesday.

To download the full description of the symposium please click here.

We begin this series with the first two parts of the presentation by Dick Sobsey titled “Varieties of Eugenics Experience in the 21st Century.”  This presentation amounts to a summary of various kinds of eugenic motivations, justifications, and practices from the 19th century to today with a good collection of anecdotes and trivia. A transcript of both parts follows the fold.

Part 1

Highlights from part 1 include: shift from religious to scientific view of the world; quality of life; social Darwinism vs. biological capitalism.

Continue reading

Marcia Angell on Big Pharma

From the latest NYRB, here’s the start of Marcia Angell’s review of three recent books on medicine and money, with a focus on psychiatry, DSM, and Big Pharma:

Recently Senator Charles Grassley, ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, has been looking into financial ties between the pharmaceutical industry and the academic physicians who largely determine the market value of prescription drugs. He hasn’t had to look very hard.

Take the case of Dr. Joseph L. Biederman, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and chief of pediatric psychopharmacology at Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital. Thanks largely to him, children as young as two years old are now being diagnosed with bipolar disorder and treated with a cocktail of powerful drugs, many of which were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for that purpose and none of which were approved for children below ten years of age. Continue reading

Defending Electroshock

The Alliance for Human Research Protection blog has a detailed and informative post that revolves around a recent National Public Radio broadcast on “Day to Day” that focuses on the forced electro-convulsive treatment (ECT) of a Minnesota man, Ray Sanford. The AHRP post ties this story, in interesting ways, to Shorter and Healy’s recent book on the history and return of ECT. The ARHP post ends with a quote from psychiatrist David Kaiser’s Psychiatric Times article from 1996, claiming it to be “as pertinent today as when he wrote it–except for his lack of knowledge about the hazardous effects of the new drugs”: Continue reading

Here be dragons

If you could make a one hour video explaining science vs. pseudoscience to the masses, what would you say? What examples would you call on, and what tools would you want to give people to carry on into the rest of their lives? Here Be Dragons is a short introduction to critical thinking for the uninitiated by someone who hoped to offer just this. The problem, he says isn’t wacky products and services, it’s all the wacky reasons we buy into them. Closes off with a recommended reading list. There’s some questionable progress rhetoric happening here, and it’s certainly not how I would write my skeptic’s handbook, but it’s interesting to think of what you might want to do differently. Check out the website for more details. I’ve put in a request for a closed captioned version, I’ll keep you posted if I find one, but for now this is audio only.