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Annotation

Insel TR, Scolnick EM. Cure therapeutics and strategic prevention: raising the bar for mental health research. Mol Psychiatry . 2006 Jan ; 11(1):11-7. PubMed Abstract

Comments on Paper and Primary News
Comment by:  William Carpenter, SRF Advisor (Disclosure)
Submitted 17 January 2006 Posted 18 January 2006
  I recommend this paper

This perspective piece is right on target. Little progress has been made since the introduction of chlorpromazine in pharmacotherapy of schizophrenia. Insel and Scolnick have been critical of the lack of progress, and have provided an NIMH focus on discovery of drugs with novel mechanisms. Here they note severity as measured in public health burden (disability and mortality), show how the shortfall in drug development compares with cardiovascular disease, and discuss reasons for the lack of progress.

Take home messages include the following:

1. Shift the focus of neurobiologic study away from the investigation of the biology of current drugs and toward disease etiology and pathophysiology. Prepare to develop drugs based on molecular pathology rather than knowledge of mechanisms of already discovered drugs.

2. Be ambitious with cure and prevention goals.

3. Fight the stigma contributing to our toleration of slow progress and modest goals.

It is easy to agree, but changing the culture of discovery may be difficult. There is a better financial risk/benefit...  Read more


View all comments by William Carpenter

Comment by:  Ed Francell
Submitted 24 January 2006 Posted 25 January 2006
  I recommend this paper

This article states very well the divergent approaches found between psychiatric research and non-psychiatric research. In many well-crafted scientific research reports/articles there tends to be a small sentence that usually goes: "This finding may lead to better treatments." We clearly know that it won't lead to more efficacious treatments unless we change the research strategy as outlined in the article.

Although the article covers the societal costs well, it fails to mention that less that 30 percent of NIMH funding is dedicated to serious neuropsychiatric disorders that take up at least 70 percent of total direct treatment costs of all psychiatric disorders. NIAID does not spend the majority of its funds researching the common cold, but instead puts HIV and other infectious diseases at the clear forefront of the research agenda.

Also not stated is the fact that the two most effective medications for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia were accidental discoveries in 1949 (lithium carbonate) and 1959 (clozapine). A similar case exists for antidepressant drugs....  Read more


View all comments by Ed Francell
Comments on Related News
Related News: News Update: What Does CATIE Mean for Treatment?

Comment by:  Marvin Herz
Submitted 7 February 2006 Posted 8 February 2006

I believe that the results of the CATIE study indirectly support the core principle of treatment, that is, it should be comprehensive, using a biopsychosocial approach. The large number of dropouts is but one example of the limitations of relying on antipsychotic medication alone in the treatment of schizophrenia. We know that psychosocial treatments enhance compliance and overall outcome. See, for example, the study that my colleagues and I conducted on relapse prevention in schizophrenia, which had a small number of dropouts over 18 months (Herz et al., 2000).

References:
Herz MI, Lamberti JS, Mintz J, Scott R, O'Dell SP, McCartan L, Nix G. A program for relapse prevention in schizophrenia: a controlled study. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2000 Mar;57(3):277-83. Abstract

View all comments by Marvin Herz

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