2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 19,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 4 fully loaded ships.

In 2010, there were 242 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 409 posts. There were 25 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 6mb. That’s about 2 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was September 13th with 180 views. The most popular post that day was Cemetery Restoration.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were bipolarblast.wordpress.com, silentspheres.blogspot.com, diffthoughts.blogspot.com, facebook.com, and mail.yahoo.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for lunatic fringe, central louisiana state hospital, seroquel adverse reactions, psychosis risk syndrome, and claire muir dumbarton.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Cemetery Restoration September 2009
1 comment

2

Diary Of A Psychiatric Survivor January 2010
25 comments

3

About June 2009
10 comments

4

New Childhood Mental Illness In The Upcoming DSM-V February 2010
20 comments

5

Brain Disease Or Mental Illness? January 2010
11 comments

Reliability and Science

In the Bad Science department the New Yorker just published an excellent article about what it characterized as the decline effect in a story called The Truth Wears Off. This decline effect is about how with some research studies the results you get with an initial study are often replicated less and less with each subsequent trial. The reason for this decline in results is that the initial study was poorly designed in the first place. I bring this up because one of the premier examples of this decline effect used in this article dealt with the atypical neuroleptic drugs used to treat psychosis. Atypical neuroleptic drugs were the drugs developed ostensibly to have fewer “side-effects” than the original neuroleptic drugs that preceded them.

But the data presented at the Brussels meeting made it clear that something strange was happening: the therapeutic power of the drugs appeared to be steadily waning. A recent study showed an effect that was less than half of that documented in the first trials, in the early nineteen-nineties. Many researchers began to argue that the expensive pharmaceuticals weren’t any better than first-generation antipsychotics, which have been in use since the fifties. “In fact, sometimes they now look even worse,” John Davis, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago, told me.

Another instance where subject of this article touched upon psychiatric matters dealt with research being done in genetics and gender.

The situation is even worse when a subject is fashionable. In recent years, for instance, there have been hundreds of studies on the various genes that control the differences in disease risk between men and women. These findings have included everything from the mutations responsible for the increased risk of schizophrenia to the genes underlying hypertension. [John] Ioannidis and his colleagues looked at four hundred and thirty-two of these claims. They quickly discovered that the vast majority had serious flaws. But the most troubling fact emerged when he looked at the test of replication: out of four hundred and thirty-two claims, only a single one was consistently replicable. “This doesn’t mean that none of these claims will turn out to be true,” he says. “But, given that most of them were done badly, I wouldn’t hold my breath.”

The pharmaceutical industry and organized biological medical model psychiatry, in league with patient advocacy groups and others of that ilk, would like to present the view that due to the vast amount of recent research on the matter we are getting somewhere in our understanding of what they refer to as “mental illness”. I would like to point out that it is early in the game, and that this is not necessarily so. When it comes to these studies, given the shoddy quality of the research methods, the theoretical biases and the underlying conflicts of interest involved, a good dose of healthy skepticism is called for. Reading this article might give you some idea as to why I seriously doubt that much of this research will be likely to hold up in the long run.