Category Archives: Biomarkers

Blood tests for mental health problems

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A new paper was published yesterday on a blood test for schizophrenia, by the same research team that in 2021 published a paper on a blood test for depression. The papers and accompanying press release contain problematic language, and the general idea of a blood test for mental illness makes very little sense to me… Read more »

Fact-check: depression & temperatures study

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A new interesting paper was published 2 weeks ago on depression and temperature. I saw a news article about the paper today that I didn’t think captured the core findings particularly well — and I wasn’t happy with some of the authors’ conclusions either — so I briefly wanted to summarize these issues here. Study… Read more »

Is the ‘default mode network’ responsible for the mental health crisis in youth?

(Note: I wrote up this blog as a commentary, which is now published in the same journal as response to the editorial. PDF, DOI 10.31234/ The very short answer is: no, youth mental health problems are not generally due to the default mode network (DMN). But the editorial in Current Psychiatry that claims it may… Read more »

“Clear evidence” for serotonin hypothesis of depression?

There has been a 60 year long discussion on the role of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the pathophysiology of depression. A recent systematic investigation by Joanna Moncrieff and colleagues concluded that “main areas of serotonin research provide no consistent evidence of there being an association between serotonin and depression, and no support for the hypothesis… Read more »

All mental disorders are brain disorders … not.

Summary: Mental disorders are commonly defined as “brain disorders” in the literature. I show in this blog that this notion remains speculative, and share a 10-week syllabus / reading list about theon the topic about the nature of mental disorders. Update, 2024: the main arguments around reductionism in this blog post are part of my… Read more »

Molecular Psychiatry commentary: Fried & Kievit 2015

On December 15th, Molecular Psychiatry published our commentary “The volumes of subcortical regions in depressed and healthy individuals are strikingly similar: a reinterpretation of the results by Schmaal et al”. You can find the full text PDF in the above link if you have a subscription to the journal, otherwise see the project’s open science… Read more »

Overinterpretation of SSRI study results: Halaris et al. 2015

Halaris and colleagues published a paper in the Journal of Psychiatric Research in which they studied the impact of the SSRI antidepressant escitalopram (ESC) in a group of 30 depressed patients. Only 20 participants completed the trial, and there was no placebo group. The authors tracked the level of a number of inflammatory markers and… Read more »

How to not interpret novel drug results: Fava et al. 2015

Imagine you are the editor of, or reviewer for, a very prestigious scientific journal, and you receive a paper about the efficacy of a novel drug for, say, cancer or HIV. You know that current drugs only work for about 1 out of 3 patients, so there are certainly large incentives to develop new drugs…. Read more »

The genetics of major depression remain elusive

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Nature didn’t want our commentary ;) … so we publish it here instead. A commentary by Eiko Fried, Sophie van der Sluis, and Angelique Cramer (PDF) A recent study published in Nature by the CONVERGE consortium1 identified two Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) that replicated across two samples of Han-Chinese women with… Read more »

Nature correspondence published

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Our commentary regarding the NIMH’s decision to solely fund research investigating the neurobiological roots of mental disorders was published in today’s issue of Nature. » Fried, E. I., Tuerlinckx, F., & Borsboom, D. (2014). Mental health: more than neurobiology. Nature, 508, 458. (PDF)