Sunday, 9 December 2007

But this is antediluvian!

If you think, the Sackeim-study has changed anything about psychiatry's view of ECT, think twice.

In 2006 about 3.500 people in Denmark have been exposed to ECT, 450 of them involuntarily, a piece of news reports yesterday on TV 2's site. The number thus is back to the same, as it was before "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" had made the damage ECT causes, known to a broader public in the early 1970ies, which had resulted in a 50% drop in the number of people exposed to ECT-"treatment".

Still today, and in spite of studies like Harold Sackeim's, that give a clear answer to the question whether memory loss is an ECT-caused "side" effect or not, Danish psychiatry dishes up with one downright lie about ECT after the other. Obviously, it is just as hard to stop lying as it is to quit any other bad habit. "Meanwhile, researchers are in great doubt if these subjective memory losses (loss of long term memory) is due to the ECT-treatment,..." it says in the article "ECT anno 2007" in the magazine "Midt i psykiatrien", October, 2007, that pictures ECT as a "highly specialized treatment" with "good results", and the method as "advanced". - Notice the choice of words at the first quotation: As soon as it comes to effects of ECT experienced as negative, these are termed "SUBJECTIVE". In other words: The OBJECTIVE (i.e. scientific) correctness of how an individual perceives himself, can - and has to be - questioned, since his perception is (unscientifically) SUBJECTIVE.

Researchers have never been and still aren't in doubt: "...there is a relation between clinical improvement and the production of brain damage or an altered state of brain function", the US-american psychiatrist, ECT advocate and notorious liar, when it comes to promoting ECT-"treatment", Max Fink says in 1966. And for once he speaks the truth, stating that a "cranio-cerebral trauma" is the basis for an effect of ECT.

Every neurologist, in fact every MD disregarded his speciality, knows that it is an alarm signal if an individual has seizures following to a head injury: The head injury has damaged the brain. Without brain damage no seizures, and without seizures no ECT. Figure it out yourself. As I read somewhere on the net, some time ago: When will they replace the ECT-machines with baseball bats? A lot of money to save for psychiatry, whose budget constantly gets cut down by the politicians. It also would spare the environment since ECT could be administered without electricity. Environmentally correct ECT.

The TV 2-piece of news also reports that LAP doesn't think, the side effects of ECT are sufficiently investigated. I strongly recommend to LAP a look at the Sackeim-study - or, for that sake, at one of numerous other studies which have shown evidence of irreversible memory loss and persistently reduced cognitive abilities as well as clear evidence of ECT-caused brain damage, ever since the 1930ies/1940ies, when ECT was developed. Leonard Roy Frank's "The Electroshock Quotationary" gives a good survey. More references can be found at John M. Friedberg's site.

Actually, there isn't anything "advanced" about today's ECT, compared with the "Cuckoo's Nest"-version, but the lies told about this form for torture. These, in return, have really become very advanced in the meantime.

Concerning the "effectiveness" of ECT, I recently found this little anecdote from Britain on the net:

For two years they used a defective ECT-machine at a hospital in the north of England, without anyone noticing that the machine didn't work. Both the staff and the "patients" were very satisfied with the "treatment". - Here, for once, "treatment" stands in quotation marks because there actually was no treatment at all, the ECT-machine being out of action. Not because the correct term would be "torture". - Until a new head nurse arrived at the hospital and discovered the mistake.

This anecdote confirms many studies' results, that show no advantage at all of real ECT over the sham-version. The, by the way, by psychiatry wanted and as "improvement" termed, confusion and disorientation many individuals experience following the "treatment", can easily be achieved only by using anaesthetics.

When it comes to ECT's "life saving" effect, preferably emphasized in context with so-called "delirious" states of mind, I wonder if I really would have to refer to the fact, that, among others, Laing has proven it to be absolutely unnecessary to fry people's brains. Far better results are achieved by humane approaches - unless the wanted result is an electrical lobotomy. Admittedly, THAT is problematic to achieve by humane treatment methods. At Arbours Crisis Centre's website the video "A Celebration of The Life And Work of Mary Barnes" at "Past Events" (in the side bar) shows, how such a humane approach might look like. Another, newer, example is told by Daniel Dorman in his book "Dante's Cure".

When I told a friend, that ECT, administered involuntarily, is a reality and on the agenda in today's Denmark, the reaction was: "You're kidding! But this is antediluvian!" Well, as long as both psychiatry and society keep on regarding the electrical lobotomy an adequate treatment-solution for disturbed and disturbing (!) individuals - "It's a gain both for the patient AND THE RELATIVES", Thomas Middelboe thus says to TV 2's news reporter (my emphasis) - we'll hardly get rid of this antediluvian method of torture. Not at all in Denmark, where psychiatry grossly makes use of having the language barrier on its side: To read and understand a study like Harold Sackeim's, or just to follow the discussion it has given rise to in the US, requires some solid proficiency in English. So, the lying can continue, mostly undisturbed.


Mark said...

Well written post!

Marian said...

Thanks, Mark!