11.25.2005

the serotonin re-uptake hoax

Found an interesting article on nomorefakenews.com referencing several other articles that explain that there is no evidence for the whole serotonin re-uptake theory of depression. I swear I learned this theory in my "Feeling & Emotion" psych class in university but there's nothing to say that a book is right just because it weighs several pounds. Scientific half-truths have been reproduced as fact for as long as people have been around.

Here's a quote from one of the articles:
How did so many smart people get it so wrong? Medicinal chemist Derek Lowe,
who works in drug development for a pharmaceutical firm, offered an explanation
in his "In the Pipeline" blog. "I worked on central nervous system drugs for
eight years, and I can confidently state that we know just slightly more than
jack" about how antidepressants work.
http://www.nomorefakenews.com/archives/archiveview.php?key=2892

I don't doubt the fact that depression is real. Not for a second. But it is interesting to read how they came up with such a theory (you can't actually go into a human brain while the person is alive and take a count of serotonin levels). I also don't doubt that the drugs work for some people, but I do believe that drug companies turn vague theories into stories complete cartoon characters when the scientists themselves aren't sure how the drugs work. Storytelling helps to simplify things which in turn helps to sell more drugs.

1 comment:

deyegoroe said...

hey van-

one interesting side note is the connection between hallucinogenics, or psychotropics, and serotonin. lsd and peyote/mescaline, for instance, have been shown to alter serotonin levels.

as for depression, tim leary did a lot of kooky things, but one of the things he did back in the day was to have meetings with cons and give them lsd. the results were fascinating.

i've heard of similar things being done with terminally ill and constant pain patients.