Though this article includes some scientific/medical terminology, the significance of what the neurologist is describing is extremely relevant: Unlike regular “diseases” there is no clear pathology for psychiatric disorders. See this previous blog/news entry by CCHR on this same subject: Wake Up FDA—Even Drug Giants Are Admitting No Lab Tests Exist To Prove If Antidepressants Work https://www.cchrint.org/2010/02/05/wake-up-fda%E2%80%94even-drug-giants-are-admitting-no-lab-tests-exist-to-prove-if-antidepressants-work/
by Greg Miller, July 28, 2010
Earlier this year, pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca announced it was ceasing drug-discovery research for psychiatric disorders such as depression and schizophrenia. The move, along with cutbacks at other companies, has raised concerns about where the next generation of neuropsychiatric drugs will come from—see this Friday’s issue of Science for a feature article exploring this topic.
Yesterday, ScienceInsider spoke with neuroscientist Menelas Pangalos, who in May took over as AstraZeneca’s head of drug-discovery research and early development. His comments have been edited for brevity.
Q: What do the recent changes mean for neuroscience research at AstraZeneca?
M.P.: Basically, from a research perspective, we’re pulling out of the psychiatry space. We’re still very much focused on neurology, so Alzheimer’s disease, pain, cognition, … those areas are still very active.
Q: What makes research on psychiatric drugs less attractive?
M.P.: Our understanding of disease pathophysiology is still relatively in its infancy.
These are complex and heterogeneous disorders. Also, the size and robustness of the clinical trials made it a less attractive area for us to be in compared to other areas we were working in. There has to be a much better alignment between preclinical and clinical work.
Q: How so?
M.P.: In neurology, if you take stroke as an example, preclinical models of stroke tend to be occlusion of the middle cerebral artery, which causes ischemic damage in the brain of a rodent or nonhuman primate that mirrors fairly well what happens in the human situation.
When you start getting into psychiatry, we have tail suspension assays, we have forced swim assays, we have learned helplessness assays … none of which have been developed through a detailed understanding of the pathophysiology. [In these tests, researchers measure how long it takes a rodent to stop struggling after being suspended by its tail or placed in a pool of liquid; giving up is presumed to be a rodent version of despair.]
Read the entire article here: http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2010/07/this-is-your-brain-off-drugs-why.html
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