Saturday, March 27, 2004

Public Reply to Comment on Antidepressants and Suicide

Corpus Callosum comments by Haloscan

Thanks for the link. Just started the whole blogging thing and haven't decided whether I really need trackback.

I enjoyed your article. I have a close friend who is a pharm sales rep and we've have a lot of discussions about the use of anti-depressants (his field). Obviously I'm not an FDA fan for many reasons, and didn't go into a lot of the "evidence" I had researched on the net and gathered from my friend. However, somewhere in my archives is a longer rant about the issues regarding drugging children. While there are obviously instances where it may be appropriate, I think we should be more hesitant to prescribe these meds (and others) to children.

Anyway, thanks for the link. I've bookmarked your site - look forward to checking back on some of your stuff.

The topic of pediatric psychopharmacology is an important one, and as you point out, there are serious ethical issues involved.  This is reviewed, from a perspective that is only slightly biased, in the book, Beyond Therapy, published by the President's Council on Bioethics. 

One reason that pediatric psychopharmacology is important, from a public health standpoint, is that there is evidence in adults that treating depression today can make relapses less likely tomorrow.  No one knows if treating persons with depression at a young age would make a difference in their longterm outcome.  However, if that turns out to be true, we will be in a situation where we will have to pay very close attention to see if we can have a positive, long-term impact. 

Major Depression is estimated to cost the country about $45 billion dollars a year.  Most of this is due to lost productivity.  (The reference is in one of my earlier articles).  If comprehensive treatment of children could reduce this, it would make a high difference in the economy and it the quality of life for millions of people. 

Of course, this does not make the ethical issues go away; it merely highlights the importance of considering all sides of the issue.

Regarding the second issue: TrackBack.  I suppose you do not need it, and the fact is most people who have it do not seem to use it.  It is a bit of a hassle to do the TrackBacks manually each time.  I like it., though, because it makes it easier to do research on topics in the Blogosphere.  Someday it all will be automated and it will be used much more.

When I write a serious essay and post it on my blog, I always do an informal blogosphere survey just to make sure that I have something to add to what is already out there.  Comments, trackbacks, and blog search engines greatly facilitate this.  

By the way, when I was researching for the Antidepressants and Suicide article, I used Waypath  for the first time.  It seemed to be better than some of the others (Bloglines, Blogdex) at finding pertinent articles on the 'net.  It also makes a nice graph, if you want, showing the amount of "buzz" that certain topics create. 

You just go to their Weblog Post Analysis form, then enter the permalink URL of a post that deals with the topic you are interested in.  It returns a list of related articles. 

One final comment.  I appreciate the fact that you made your comment a reasonable one.  Half the comments I get from people I don't know are needlessly inflammatory.   I tried to add your blog to my aggregator, Bloglines, but it did not find an RSS or Atom feed.  SInce you use Blogger, why not go to the settings page and turn on the Atom site feed?  If you are really into it, you can then go to Atom2RSS and set up an RSS feed.  Atom2RSS formats the RSS feed perfectly, unlike some of the others.

If you are trying to figure out how to do this kind of thing, sometimes you can go to a blog that has successfully implemented the feature you want, use the View menu on your browser to "View Source" and study the HTML code to see how the feature was implemented. 

You can screw up your blog pretty badly doing this, so be sure to make a backup of your template.

Good luck.