Sunday, April 22, 2012

Brainy psychiatry

In his NIMH Director's blog, Thomas Insel, who I have mentioned several times before (eg. see previous post), has picked up on the same Lancet article as I did in a previous blog entry. Although the number of graduating US doctors choosing psychiatry seems to be down a bit over recent years, Insel is impressed that the number with PhDs has doubled in the last decade. I'm not sure whether the number of those with PhDs has also increased in other specialities.

Insel defines psychiatry as clinical neuroscience. 
A recent NIMH training session for top second year psychiatry residents (many with PhDs) treated them to sessions focusing on "neuromodulation— using cognitive training and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) — to alter symptoms of depression and anxiety by modulating specific brain circuits".

I can't see that psychiatry is helped by this narrowing of its focus. So-called clinical neuroscience has become too academically dominant, sustained by biomedical research funding. Actually the brightest young doctors need to engage more with the nature of psychiatry.  I will be writing further about promoting critical psychiatry in the academy, hopefully leading to a conference sometime.

2 comments:

Becky said...

I also posted my reaction to Insel's latest blog post. http://involuntarytransformation.blogspot.com/2012/04/friday-funny-i-have-something-to-say-to.html

Atariana said...

Hi Duncan,

Thank you for your blog...!!

'One flew over the Cuckoo's nest' that was shown on TV few days ago has touched a nerve of mine.

How does "neuromodulation— using cognitive training and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS)to treat depression/anxiety work? Is it similar to ECT??

what do you mean by 'critical
psychiatry'?