Monday, February 11, 2008

(Better?) Living Through Chemistry

Interesting piece in the New York Times today about certain increasingly popular drugs (for things like depression, but also epilepsy), and whether they might increase the likelihood of suicide in certain subjects. Unsurprisingly, the final analysis is muddy:
In short, consumers and patients may be in for a Pandora’s box of exasperating, drawn out public debates over suicide risk, if not lurid court cases — with little chance of a clear, satisfying resolution.

The reason is simple: Suicide is an intimate, often impulsive decision that has defied scientific understanding, just as it has confounded easy explanation throughout history, or in literature.

Researchers can count the bodies, all right, and they have confirmed what people already suspected about suicide, that it is associated with depression, alcoholism, and other habits or disorders that leave people miserable.

But the act itself is so rare — 1 in 10,000 — that a series of drug trials cannot pick up enough cases to allow for adequate analysis.


Post a Comment

<< Home