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Humanist, humorist

Friday, June 23, 2017

Prozac: Three Blind Mice






Three blind mice, three blind mice,
See how they run, see how they run,
They all ran after the farmer's wife,
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,
Did you ever see such a thing in your life,
As three blind mice?


Most believe the author of Three Blind Mice was a teenager named Thomas Ravenscroft. The origin of the words, according to many historians, stem from Queen Mary I and her staunch Catholic beliefs. due to her violent persecution of Protestants, she was known as 'Bloody Mary'. The reference to 'farmer's wife' in Three Blind Mice refers to the huge estates she possessed. The 'three blind mice' were three Protestants convicted of plotting against Queen Mary I.  She did not have them dismembered and blinded as inferred in Three Blind Mice, she had them burnt at the stake! 

Ah, don't you just love the morals and ethics of religion! Even today we still see people being killed in the name of something that cannot be seen or heard. History shows that religious books have been responsible for many deaths, or rather the way religious scriptures are been interpreted. The Three Blind Mice rhyme has similarities to a recent study in Japan.

The study, sponsored in part by Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., involved mice pups bred to mimic the distinctive behaviors and brain abnormalities seen in autism. After inducing autistic traits, the mice were fed Prozac. The authors claim Prozac caused dramatic improvements in the animal's social interactions and communication patterns. The Prozac, which was administered through the mother’s milk for 19 days. Furthermore, according to the study, "newborn mice got a daily injection of Prozac in their first six days of life, the treatment appeared to restore normal vocalization patterns and reduce anxiety-like behaviors well into adulthood."

The study is littered with assumptions and seems to promote a chemical imbalance theory that both humans and mice allegedly have. The study doesn't seem to explain what was done to impair the animal's brain function. What it does claim is that Prozac improved the brain damage the researchers caused. 

It claims to show that Prozac cleared whatever was induced in the mice so, in essence, this could just possibly be one drug counteracting another drug.

The spin in this study is obvious. The authors have induced a series of brain abnormalities in mice pups then made claims that these abnormalities are almost identical to the abnormalities found in people with autism.

Here's the irony: Toxic exposures during pregnancy, such as the use of antidepressants, can disrupt brain processes before birth and shortly afterward. So, if antidepressants can disrupt the brain process before and after birth, why not treat that with, um, another antidepressant!

It must have been a slow news day at the Los Angeles Times whose health corespondent, Melissa Healy, ran with the study. Her article is littered with assumptions. She claims Prozac, "is thought to elevate mood and quell anxiety by increasing the availability of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the spaces between certain types of brain cells." I suspect her article is mainly a reprinted press release.

The key word here is "thought." Anything that follows it can, and should, be taken with a pinch of salt. It's clever marketing because our eyes are drawn to the science when, in actual fact, there is no science, it's just supposition.

Furthermore, the jounalist states, "Research on humans suggests that, during early brain development, those who will go on to develop autism have unusually low levels of serotonin in critical areas of the brain."

Now, here's a game for you all. What is the keyword in the above sentence?

Answers in the comments section or on my Facebook page please.

Science is an intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment. This Japanese study has done none of that.

Don't you just love the morals and ethics of clinical trials and unscientific journalsm reporting!

Full study here.

LA Times article here.

Bob Fiddaman









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