Sunday, July 15, 2007

Notes from the Prozac Nation, Vol. 1, No. 1

A few days late, but as promised, here is the first installment of "Notes from the Prozac Nation."

  • CDC researchers find that antidepressants are the most prescribed drugs in the United States. See the CNN article here, with a so-so commentary by Elizabeth Cohen here (of course I think she simplifies the issue, but well, it is CNN). At the bottom of this Scientific American article is a link to the actual CDC report (pdf).
  • New Studies show that SSRI drugs are not linked to increase suicide risk. The NYT reports on two studies that refute previous arguments that SSRI drugs can increase suicide in teenagers and children (a belief that led to the black box warnings). Will this new evidence comfort parents who are told their teenager should be taking Paxil? This personal injury lawyer argues that the FDA black box warnings may have led to increased teen suicides.
  • Is Viagra good for Christians? Check out this very interesting blog post, "Christian Sexuality and the Ethic of Pharmaceutical Enhancement" at Baptist Blogger: Cold Showers for Fightin' Fundamentalists. This post is taken from a paper that the blogger wrote while a student at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and is a very thoughtful and interesting analysis of responsible use of Viagra and other male enhancement drugs.
  • Do Bioconservatives really know what they mean by 'human nature'? Rebecca Roache at Ethics Etc points out that opponents to the ethics of enhancement (the bioconservatives) do not have a robust definition of 'human nature' at work. Roache points out how this problem is similar to the dilemma that Carl Hempel identified about the truth of physicalism. If bioconservatives want to oppose enhancement technologies on the ground that they interfere with human nature, then, Roache points out, they will need to make a more convincing argument for preserving human nature as it exists now. They will also need to show why evolution is a more benign force in the transformation of human nature.
  • Does Your Soul Have a Cold? This is the name of a new documentary film made by Mike Mills that explores how American Pharmaceutical companies are ""exporting American definitions of depression and the use of antidepressants to the ancient culture of Japan." The film is apparently not anti-SSRIs, but rather how Big Pharma tends to sell a specific definition of depression that, not surprisingly, is best treated by medicines rather than psychotherapy.