“Finding Purpose After Living With Delusion”

An article from the New York Times tells the story of Milt Greek, who experiences psychotic delusions to save the world.

So after cleaning the yard around his house — a big job, a gift to his wife — in the coming days he sat down and wrote a letter to the editor of the local newspaper, supporting a noise-pollution ordinance.

Small things, maybe, but Mr. Greek has learned to live with his diagnosis in part by understanding and acting on its underlying messages, and along the way has built something exceptional: a full life, complete with a family and a career.

Greek, and a growing number of others, have looked to their delusions as being rooted in fears, and other psychological wounds, with the goal of recovery through understanding. It’s a process that Continue reading

Experimenting on the vulnerable at Columbia University

Last week the New York Times and LA Times reported violations of FDA mandated dosage levels in the chemicals used in clinical PET (positron emission tomography) studies at a major lab, the Kreitchman PET Center, at the Columbia University Medical Center.

Most people who participate in experimental studies of drug treatments are vulnerable–either via poverty, mental illness, other disability, race–and while they consent to participate.  That consent carries with it an acknowledgment of a higher risk, but it’s also based on the basic trust that the studies are at least in accord with federal and other regulations (e.g., university research ethics boards approvals, when done in university environments).

The practice of chasing “willing subjects” to all corners of the globe became widespread as these approvals onshore became harder to gain for domestic populations, a story told in The Constant Gardener that had at least one kind of less-than-fully-evil outcome, as reported last year by The Independent.

So what is going on at Columbia University? (apart from damage control by their administration)  Below the fold is the LA Times article; here’s the link to the original article, and here’s a h/t link to the AHRP blog post by Vera on this story. Continue reading

Crazy, loony, you know

from the Mental Health Association of Broward County in Florida, with a h/t to the new blog Psychodonuts: mental illness is not a joke, an effective thought-producing, short video on the stigmatization of mental illness they made a few years ago:

Transcript and video description beneath the fold; if you can’t watch it from here, but can from Youtube, click here: Continue reading

Savage Language

If you haven’t read what talk show host Michael Savage thinks about autistic children (99% of whom he says are misdiagnosed), go here.

If you haven’t read his attempt to explain himself, go here. Savage cites his own experience seeing his “severely disabled” sibling die in a “‘snake-pit’ of a ‘mental hospital'” New York as why he “[knows] first-hand what true disability is.”

This is my suggestion for providing him with a little autism education. And then things got even more interesting when I brought up a recent use of the word “retarded” by another mother of a disabled child.

Maybe sticks and stones don’t break my bones, but names—but words—can really, really hurt and miss the mark entirely.