Monday, February 23, 2015

Prof Edward Shorter and the psychic epidemic of ignoring clinical evidence

A phenomenon well familiar to historians of medicine is the psychic epidemic of ignoring clinical evidence by psychiatrists and medical historians, a belief that spreads epidemically, until the evidence become so overwhelming that it becomes clear that these people have been telling porkies for decades, and then their nonsense is forgotten.

  In the 20th century, psychiatry fostered such an epidemic with the belief that ego masturbation caused their bank accounts to inflate. Many medical historians and psychiatrists obsessed for years over the thought that their “self-abuse” had pleased their bank managers.

  Another epidemic focused on the toxic  effects of ignoring clinical evidence on the ovaries. Many male medical historians and male psychiatrists would plead for ovariectomies, on the grounds that their irritated ovaries were blocking clinical evidence which their penis had spotted, to go all the way to their brain. And that this was leading to erectile dysfunction and the inability to have an orgasm.

  Once their ovaries were removed, their penis size increased by more than 5 inches. So all these male medical historians and male psychiatrists were pleading their doctors for ovariectomies.

  In the late 1980s the belief spread epidemically that reading clinical evidence caused irreversible brain damage, and a number of leading medical historians and psychiatrists wrote books full of advice about eating small meals upside down, with your eyes closed and your brain in hibernation mode, to make sure that clinical evidence would not reach your brain to prevent brain damage.

  I realize that these words will fall unreceptively upon some ears, and I regret that some medical historians and psychiatrists, especially from Toronto, may feel slighted by the clinical evidence that is readily available, if only they where willing to turn on their computer and were willing to read biomedical research, for example the fMRI studies from Stanford, or the PET scan study from Japan. 

  Yet there are larger stakes here. In the way that lives were once ruined with such toxic diagnoses as hysteria, which in this day and age is called MS, millions of lives today are ruined by medical historians and pinocchio psychiatrists who have made a fortune out of ignoring clinical evidence.

  Many psychiatrists and medical historians choose their profession so that they didn't have to become productive members of the community.  (The IOM report dwelled upon the dangers of severely ill patients being abused by the medical profession.) 

  Such a waste of human potential is tragic, and if there are lessons that we may draw from the history of medicine, it is that doctors who discover the underlying metabolic problem or cause of such diseases, which medical historians and psychiatrists call psychosomatic, even though they do not have any evidence to back up this claim, will go on to win the Nobel prize for medicine, as the Nobel Prize winner in medicine, Dr Barry Marshall stated a few years ago.


Cheri Bourque said...

I was pretty upset when I read both articles. He really does appear to be labelling the entire ME/CFS community as having Munchausen Syndrome. How grim is that thought. I am sure that millions worldwide are not faking it. I am honestly beginning to feel that some people that are drawn to the field of Psychology are perhaps a little crazy themselves. Not saying all but perhaps the field has more than their fair share.

I admit I do not know much about the sordid history of male physicians treating female patients and their "hysteria" and I will also admit that I can not bring myself to read about it because I believe that I will be disturbed by what I read, but…
I a little bit of research and the first mention of hysteria caused by reflex irritation of the ovaries that I could find was in a medical journal from 1850. Guess what else happened in 1850? The first National Women's Rights Convention was held in April 1850. Probably not a coincidence. It seems more likely that this is an example of an illness fabricated by men to block women from being able to vote by means of labelling women as hysterical. The fact that Mr. Shorter (I refuse to call him doctor as he has shown no such respect to this community) seems to be blaming women is disgusting. The fact that he has to use a fictional medical issue affecting females in 1850 as an example to try to prove his theory about ME/CFS is pathetic.

I just want to thank you for your blog post. Your last paragraph made me feel better.

Dr Speedy said...

Thanks for the compliment Cheri


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