Monday, March 31, 2008

My Three Shrinks Podcast 44: Guest J. Raymond Depaulo MD


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We are pleased to have the head of Johns Hopkins Psychiatry, Dr. J. Raymond DePaulo, joining us here to talk about diagnoses, labels, and the ethics of using drugs to enhance one's cognitive skills (a fascinating discussion).

Dr. DePaulo joins us on the next podcast as well (#45) to talk about treatment-resistant depression, bipolar disorder, favorite quotes, and words we don't like. That should be up by April 6.


March 30, 2008: #44 Guest Dr. Ray DePaulo

Topics include:

  • NYT: The Ethics of Artificial Brain Enhancement, by Benedict Carey. On using cognitive enhancers, like Adderall, Vyvanse, and Provigil, to perform better. The article quotes NIDA's Nora Volkow, who wrote, "Even though stimulants and other cognitive enhancers are intended for legitimate clinical use, history predicts that greater availability will lead to an increase in diversion, misuse and abuse." Dr. DePaulo addresses the treatment of symptoms (eg, inattention in pilots) vs diagnoses, on the bases of functional impairment and subsequent consequences. Be sure to listen to the part around 24 minutes, where we discuss the ethics of a hypothetical drug that increases IQ by 30 points.

  • Diagnosis in Psychiatry. Also some comments on ADHD vs Bipolar diagnosis, which led into an interesting discussion about the nature of diagnosing psychiatric "syndromes" in the absence of a definitive diagnostic aid, like a blood test or brain scan.
    Other references and topics mentioned by Dr DePaulo: Kraepelin. // Quote from Paul McHugh: "A good clinician in Psychiatry is someone who makes prudent decisions based on insufficient information." // Judy Rapoport's 1978 study of stimulants in normal kids. // The history of "ADHD" and "minimal brain dysfunction". // Labels and diagnoses. // William Styron // Kraepelin's Manic-Depressive Insanity.

  • Prison Health Care. Clink compares correctional psychiatry capabilities with those in free society and wonders why care can be provided in jails and prisons yet we are the only country still without some sort of national health care.

  • JAMA: Loss of Serendipity in Psychopharmacology, by Donald Klein. Article in the March 5 issue of JAMA. "This Commentary on the psychopharmacological revolution focuses on 2 mysteries: fostering medication discovery and finding out how they work."



Dr. DePaulo's most recent book is Understanding Depression.


There are three audiences for this authoritative book: people who think they m
ay be depressed, those whose condition has already been diagnosed and are in treatment, and those who are concerned about someone who is either in treatment or probably needs to be.







Credit: At the end is a few seconds of "Manic Monday" by The Bangles [iTunes, Amazon].






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