Sunday, January 20, 2008

Weasel Words

Great news that the depression drugs are under attack because the producers buried uncomplimentary studies. Also very interesting is this article entitled Serotonin and Depression: A Disconnect between the Advertisements and the Scientific Literature. The chart with old quotes from researchers is especially disheartening for us who hope for changes and improvements in treatment.

As the news about the skewing of depression studies and the over-hype of statins has hit the main media, one can only hope the antipsychotics also will come under scrutiny.

I subscribe to a dictionary site that sends you a new word every day. It includes a definition and the origin. (OK, I admit I like some very boring things). This week, one of the words was "weasel words" which made me think of the whole psychiatric game.

Weasel Words: Instead of just saying outright that jobs are going to be cut, the head of the company has taken to using weasel words like "corporate restructuring."

Some people believe that weasels can suck the insides out of an egg without damaging the shell. An egg thus weasel-treated would look fine on the outside, but it would actually be empty and useless. We don't know if weasels can really do that, but the belief that they could caused people to start using "weasel word" to refer to any term intended to give the impression that everything is fine when the speaker is really trying to avoid answering a question, telling the truth, or taking the blame for something.

For instance, this is what the literature says about risperdal. For your pleasure, I have underlined the weasel words.
From the drugs own literature:
Risperidone (Jansen's RISPERDAL®).
How does RISPERDAL work?
Symptoms of schizophrenia are thought to be caused by imbalances of chemicals in the brain. These chemicals are called dopamine and serotonin. Exactly how RISPERDAL works is unknown. However, it seems to readjust the balance of dopamine and serotonin. This may help relieve symptoms of anxiety, depression, suspiciousness and delusions.


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