MonthJune 2016

Reading of the Week: Do the Meds Work? Peter Kramer’s Essay, and More

From the Editor

Do the pills really work?

It’s a question that we clinicians are repeatedly asked. Antidepressants are widely prescribed, but often doubted – by our patients and by people in general.

This week, we look at an essay penned by Dr. Peter Kramer, an American psychiatrist. Dr. Kramer, you may recall, made a name for himself two decades ago by extolling the super-therapeutic powers of Prozac. Today, he has a more modest goal: explaining the role of antidepressants in the treatment of depression.

Then, looking to The New England Journal of Medicine, we consider a paper that discusses the rise and, perhaps, fall of randomized controlled trials as the “gold standard” of medical research.

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Reading of the Week: C-14 and Medically Assisted Dying

From the Editor

Over the years, Readings have considered big papers and big essays. This week’s Reading considers big legislation.

Last Friday, C-14 was given Royal Assent, having finally achieved Senate approval, thereby becoming law.

The Parliament of Canada

“An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying)” is unlikely to be the end of this debate. Indeed, it is likely to be part of the beginning of a larger societal debate on death and medicine.

In this Reading, we look at C-14 and, as well, an essay by Dr. Sonu Gaind on mental illness and physician-assisted death.

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Reading of the Week: I Can’t Sleep – Insomnia, Part II of II

From the Editor

It’s one of the most common patient complaints: I can’t sleep.

What many of our patients aspire to…

Insomnia affects 6 to 10% of the population. It’s a common problem – and often chronic. But are we mishandling insomnia?

In a two-part, two-week series, we look at the latest in insomnia research.

Last week. Fewer Pills, More Therapy. The new Clinical Practice Guidelines.

This week. Insomnia, Is There an App for That? The GoodNight Study.

This week, turning to a new paper from The Lancet Psychiatry, we consider an online insomnia program to prevent depression relapse.

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Reading of the Week: I Can’t Sleep – Insomnia, Part I of II

From the Editor

It’s one of the most common patient complaints: I can’t sleep.

What many of our patients aspire to…

Insomnia affects 6 to 10% of the population. It’s a common problem – and often chronic. But are we mishandling insomnia?

In a two-part, two-week series, we look at the latest in insomnia research.

This week. Fewer Pills, More Therapy. The new Clinical Practice Guideline.

Next week. Insomnia, Is There an App for That? The GoodNight Study.

This week, we look at the new American College of Physicians Clinical Practice Guideline on insomnia that suggests that CBT-Insomnia should be the first-line treatment.

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Reading of the Week: Cost and Mental Illness

From the Editor

When we think about mental illness, we often think about loss – loss of friendships, loss of opportunities, and, in some cases, loss of life.

From a societal perspective, mental illness is often accompanied by another loss: economic.

Here are two papers that consider the long economic shadow cast by mental illness.

In the first, the authors consider mental illness and high-use consumers of health care. Specifically, the paper asks a simple if important question: looking at people who heavily use the health-care system, what percentage have mental health and addiction problems? The second paper, which draws on US data, calculates the cost of treating mental health disorders compared to other disorders.

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