1. Harvey Whittemore to jail?
Economist (twice) on the DSM-5
3. On the mB12-protocol
I believe I am still somewhat paying back my walk of 5
but I also seem to be getting out of it.
In proof of which there is today a fairly long Nederlog, with three
1. Harvey Whittemore to jail?
Harvey Whittemore? I do, for one, and I think quite a few of my readers
know some about him. For those who do not:
Harvey is the husband of Annette Whittemore, who is the leader of the WPI, that was rather well known in 2010 and
2011, namely for providing the place and the money to Judy Mikovits,
Ph.D., who believed she had found the cause of M.E., and indeed quite a
few other diseases, in the shape of XMRV.
That story is fairly well treated on my site in 2009, 2010 and 2011,
but after 2 years, on October 8, 2011, I definitely gave up on it, as
And indeed: It turned out to
have been - probably, mostly - contamination. It took another
year to settle that, but by September 2012 I think most people were
convinced. See these two essays by me from the second half of that
But that was just some
background. Now to the real subject:
Whittemore was a big political player in Nevada, that is at
least 3 times as large as the Netherlands, but has only 2.7 million
inhabitants - among whom is Harry Reid, who
currently is the Senate
Majority Leader, which is to say that he functions as the
political leader of the Democratic Senators.
Now here is the news that elevated Harvey Whittemore to being in
In fact, and the above is a Huffington
Post article dated yesterday, from which I now quote:
I say. What do I think
of it? It seems Mr. Whittemore is in considerable trouble, and has some
major enemies. The odd thing are the height of the punishments
and the sort of crime, also as now - six years after 2007 - it seems
the sky has become the limit as regards to money and politics.
Harvey Whittemore, 59,
could face up to 15 years in prison and hundreds of thousands of
dollars in fines after a federal jury returned guilty verdicts on three
counts tied to nearly $150,000 illegally funneled to Reid's re-election
campaign in 2007.
Each count carries a maximum
penalty of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The judge
set sentencing for Sept. 23.
Prosecutors said in
closing arguments Tuesday that Whittemore had been the "king of the
hill" in Nevada political circles, an insider who had worked his way
onto the short list of many U.S. senators and representatives as
someone to call when they needed to quickly find donors.
Reid had no comment on
the verdicts, said Kristen Orthman, a spokeswoman for the senator.
Reid was not accused of
any wrongdoing. He has said he was unaware of any potential problems
with the money he received.
"I received $25 million.
He raised $150,000," Reid told the Las Vegas Sun earlier this week. "I
had money coming in from other places."
attorney - MM] told jurors Whittemore was driven solely by greed
– "not to get more money but greed in the sense of more power."
But I make no bets on the outcome, and merely register that one of the - at least three -
Dutch ME/CVS organizations does have contacts with the WPI - and no: I am not
a member of any of these organizations: I merely register
The Economist on the DSM-5
Economist is a rather well-known and long established periodical on
economy. The reason it came to my attention is that it published
recently two interesting reviews of the DSM-5 - albeit "recently" is
May 18, nearly two week ago.
You'll find the originals linked in their titles, that I deal with in
some detail, because they are unexpectedly good. And you'll find the
originals linked in their titles:
This starts as follows
By the book
The American Psychiatric Association's latest diagnostic manual remains
a flawed attempt to categorise mental illness
A BOOK with the
title “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth
Edition” does not sound destined to be a bestseller, particularly at
$199 a pop. But DSM-5, as it is known for short, is almost certain to
become one. Its predecessor, DSM-IV, which was published in 1994, has
sold more than 1m copies. DSM-5, which will go on sale on May 22nd, is
likely to do at least as well.
But not only that: What's more
is that (1) psychiatric diagnoses have a legal validity, and
(2) much of psychiatric diagnosing amounts to - often: more or less
forced - prescriptions of psychotropic drugs, while (3) these
prescriptions are not based on really valid research.
The reason is that the DSM series, which is published by the American
Psychiatric Association (APA), has become the global standard for the
description of mental illness. Indeed, the DSM is treated by many
people less as a medical handbook and more as holy writ. Insurers use
it to decide whether or not to cover ailments. And diagnoses based on
it determine whether people get special services at school; whether
they qualify for disability benefits; whether they are stigmatised in
their careers; even whether they are able to adopt children.
The Economist sees it as follows:
The third DSM, published
in 1980, introduced a new approach—also followed in the fourth in 1994.
DSM-III acknowledged that psychiatrists had a poor understanding of the
physiological cause of mental illness. Instead specific, observed
symptoms became the diagnostic criteria, and clusters of them, known
medically as syndromes, that appeared to coexist in individual patients
were given labels. The hope was that biological markers of such
syndromes would be discovered as physiological understanding increased.
This was a reasonable
approach in principle. In practice, though, the lines dividing
different disorders are blurry. The symptoms used to define them often
do not cluster neatly in the way that those of true syndromes would,
and the statistical evidence for their existence is sometimes sparse.
Nor, in most cases, have the hoped-for biological markers turned up—and
to the extent that they have, they have muddied the waters, rather than
This is putting it mildly,
and also does not consider the major extensions that psychiatry has
There still is no
biological, no genetic and indeed no real basis for
most - nearly all - of the pronouncements of the DSM. And each time a
new DSM arrives, more and more people and more and more of their
behaviors are described and categorized as insane. See my Brit. Jn.
Psychiatry: 78% of the British are not sane.
puts it as follows:
suggest that the DSM’s approach of placing patients in diagnostic silos
is questionable. As Dan Blazer of Duke University, who served on
DSM-5’s task-force, puts it, “We’re basically drawing artificial lines,
and the body and the mind do not work like that.”
Which is to say: It's
mostly baloney, that is: mostly nonsense - and indeed it is.
And the unfortunate truth
is that it is still far too early to use biological markers as criteria
Now this article is of May 18, when the news that thje NIMH's
Dr Insel had given up - sort of - his opposition to the DSM-5,
or at least, officially speaking, had taken it down a peg, had not yet
reached The Economist:
The NIMH seeks to
use genetics, imaging and cognitive science to create new diagnostic
criteria. Thomas Insel, the NIMH’s director, has specifically implored
researchers not to be confined by DSM-5’s strict rules. Abiding by DSM
categories may prevent scientists from understanding the underlying
causes of sickness.
Still, objective laboratory
measures for mental illness are a long way off. The APA says DSM-5 will
be continuously updated to respond to new discoveries. For now,
however, patients’ treatment will be guided by the imperfect manual.
That is: You
seriously risk being seriously damaged by turning to psychiatry.
In fact, also
on May 18, The Economst published another article on the same
I'll skip some introductory
text and turn immediately to this:
No other major branch of
medicine has such a single text, with so much power over people’s
lives. And that is worrying. Because in no other branch of medicine is
the scientific reality underpinning the pronouncements of doctors so
Quite so - which indeed is
my reason to deny psychiatry is a real scientific medicine. The above
quotation is followed up thus:
Quite so, again - though even
the understanding how nerve cells work is very far from complete. But
otherwise I quite agree.
This uncertainty flows
from a profound ignorance about how brains actually work.
Neuroscientists understand how nerve cells work. They also know which
bits of the brain deal with vision, locomotion, language, memory and
suchlike. But between these two anatomical levels all is darkness.
Psychiatrists have thus had to use behaviour patterns as proxies for
underlying problems. And what constitutes a pattern is too often a
matter of opinion rather than a statistically rigorous fact.
criticisms are that it medicalises normal behaviour and that the strict
categories of mental illness it creates are increasingly at odds with
what research suggests is actually going on in the brain.
And again The Economist
has it right - to which one may add that these "diagnoses" may
be incriminating one for life, unlike the diagnoses real that is
non-psychiatric doctorsn make. Plus the long-term dangers, and indeed
the effectiveness of most of the prescribed drugs are not really known.
Both criticisms are
ultimately about names. (..) But diagnosis frequently leads to
prescription, and lots of pills are thus being popped by people whose
need to take them is, to say the least, questionable.
And as The Economist puts it, in conclusion:
Without a proper
diagnosis, proper treatment is hard.
Indeed - and in fact it seems
to me as if psychiatry is still, and will be for the
coming 10 or 25 years, not a science but in fact a pseudoscience,
that abuses most of its patients, for the benefit of itself, and that
can do so because nobody really knows what they are
talking about (some very few subjects excluded).
Veneration of the DSM is
also harmful in research. (..) the current over-reliance on one
point of view in this extremely uncertain science is healthy neither
for psychiatry, nor for those it treats.
For more on this, see my series on
the DSM-5, and especially the quite long, but quite good
Also, personally I find it
rather ironic that the APA needs correction from The Economist,
but as my readers will have seen The Economist is quite correct
- and quite possibly because its writers know a lot more about
On the mB12-protocol
Actually, the walk
I took 5 weeks ago today that rather upset my health was to get a bunch
of pills that allow me to do the mB12-protocol. For more on that
protocol, the latest I wrote about this was on April 10:
This also contains a good list
of the vitamins and minerals I take, and the prices I pay.
There is a problem with the protocol I use, that also seems to
hit some others: I sleep too little. This is a bit difficult to
diagnose, because anyway I slept too little because I have problems
with my eyes.
However, these eye problems lessened slowly, and are still lessening,
and in April I did have a period of three successive weeks with
averages of 7 1/2, 8 and 8 hours of sleep. This was quite a relief, for
I have had months in which I scarcely slept 4 1/2 hours a night, on
average, all because of sore eyes.
But then I started doing the protocol again, because it does help me
some, in diverse fields also - and down went my sleeping times again,
and I am now back at around 6 hours a night, which is really not enough
I am now lessening the protocol some, particularly the mB12. This did
help before. Otherwise, I have beem slowly improving, but this does
suggest this is a strongly experimental treatment, that I would
not use if I did not have M.E.
ME/CFS (that I prefer
to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search
is a disease I have since 1.1.1979: