Study: Drugs Aid Some Depression Sufferers

“A third of people suffering serious depression recover with the first antidepressant they try, and well-educated white women are most likely to benefit, according to initial results of an eagerly awaited study on the controversial drugs.

One key finding: Patients whose depression symptoms disappeared took higher than typical drug doses, and received close monitoring and frequent dose adjustments in the first three months – a level of care that few U.S. patients today receive.

Stay tuned.

The main goal of the government-funded study is to identify what harder-to-treat patients should try when initial treatment fails, instead of abandoning therapy in frustration. Those results are due in a few months.&rdquo (Optimum Online )

As anyone who has been reading FmH for any length of time knows, one of my pet peeves is the undertreatment of depressive disorders by the modern medical establishment, which then goes on to blame the antidepressants which have either been inadequately prescribed or inadequately supervised. The critical first months of treatment for acute depression require frequent physician visits and attention beyond the time or expertise of the primary care physicians who have been convinced by the antidepressant manufacturers that the condition is trivial and trouble-free to treat like any other primary care condition.

Getting In on the Act:

Broadcasters Try Putting a New Spin on Auld Lang Syne: “Around Times Square on Saturday night, as the sky was filled with a blizzard of confetti and the hour approached midnight, a handful of television personalities including Ryan Seacrest, Regis Philbin, Carson Daly and Stuart Scott were jockeying to become the next king of New Year’s Eve, the next Dick Clark.

But as it approached time for Mr. Clark to make his appearance at 11:35 on his annual “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” show, more than a year after a stroke forced him to miss last year’s broadcast, another question waited to be answered: would Dick Clark be Dick Clark, the symbol of youthfulness and constancy on television for nearly a half-century?

Mr. Clark, 76, had made no public appearances since his stroke, and in the weeks leading up to the show there had been wide, sometimes grotesque speculation in the news media about whether Mr. Clark would be fit to be on the show.&rdquo (New York Times )

And a collective "oooops" was sounded by all

“The Sunday Times of London decided to update an old, but effective experiment from 30-odd years ago: take a book that was published and well-reviewed, take the author’s name off the cover and submit it as if it were an unpublished partial to agents and publishers. Would they regard it as the classic it was, or reject it wholesale? Well, in the case of Jerzy Kozinski, it was the latter. And now, the same goes for V.S. Naipaul and Stanley Middleton…&rdquo (Media Bistro )

The Edge Annual Question 2006

What is Your Dangerous Idea? “The history of science is replete with discoveries that were considered socially, morally, or emotionally dangerous in their time; the Copernican and Darwinian revolutions are the most obvious. What is your dangerous idea? An idea you think about (not necessarily one you originated) that is dangerous not because it is assumed to be false, but because it might be true?&rdquo — John Brockman

Related: As previously noted here, The Edge‘s 2005 question “What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?” is now a book.

Escalation of the Resource Wars

Stirling Newberry writes on Daily Kos:“The march of Iran to deterrent state status are prompting “use it or lose it” pressures for preventative – that is aggressive – strikes against Iran and its atomic weapons program, as Iran declares that it has a right to enrich Uranium on its own soil. The Ukraine-Russia gas stand off escalates as Russia accuses Ukraine of stealing Natural gas. In Iraq insurgent threats keep a major refinery shut down in Iraq.

On this, the first working day of the New Year, we are already getting a good stiff taste of the running theme of 2006. If 2004 and 2005 saw resource inflation, 2006 is the year when resource rich countries begin using those resources as weapons, and resource poor countries begin taking aggressive steps to secure resources. The current world market approach to energy is going to break down, as more and more nations are forced to jostle for position.

Somewhere in the next two years it will dawn on the American public that we live in the pre-war, not post-war, era, and that Iraq was a foreshock.&rdquo

Sheep in Wolves’ Clothing

Private military men patrol Iraq in constant jeopardy of stepping on legal landmines. “You won’t find the word ‘mercenary’ on the homepage of the International Peace Operations Association, the trade group for the private military industry. While many of the IPOA’s member companies are staffed by elite former soldiers of the United States military who now make a living hiring themselves out, the so-called ‘M word’ isn’t in the IPOA’s corporate vocabulary. Members are known as private military companies (often called PMCs) or military service providers, who specialize in ‘private peace operations.’ Their model isn’t ‘Mad’ Mike Hoare, who gained notoriety for his exploits in the Congo during the 1960s and in a failed 1981 coup attempt in the Seychelles; it’s the management consultants of McKinsey & Company. ” (Legal Affairs)