Category Archives: Clinical Trials

2022 psilocybin Nature Medicine study remains uncorrected

I just saw that the Daws et al. 2022 paper that was heavily discussed in 2022 and 2023 is still online, and Nature Medicine neither published criticism that has been raised, nor did they publish an expression of concern or correction. I originally came across the paper when one of the authors wrote about it… Read more »

Which depression measure is best?

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A new paper published today in Lancet Psychiatry, led by Christopher Veal, reports findings from a systemic review of 450 clinical trials for unipolar and bipolar depression. Our results can be seen as trying to answer one of the oldest questions in the field of depression measurement: which of the over 200 measures is the… Read more »

Treating depression with psychedelics: red flags and FAQ

Update, 02/2024: We have now published the paper “History repeating: guidelines to address common problems in psychedelic science” on this topic, in part based on this blog post. We introduces 10 pressing challenges that limit conclusions regarding safety and efficacy. We share a checklist that researchers, journalists, funders, policymakers, and other stakeholders can use to… Read more »

Modeling idiographic and nomothetic dynamics of 255 depressed inpatients

Led by the first author Kaat Hebbrecht, we published an open access paper a few days ago on “Understanding personalized dynamics to inform precision medicine: a dynamic time warp analysis of 255 depressed inpatients” in BMC Medicine. You can find the full text here. I briefly summarize the paper in this blog post, given that… Read more »

The Myth of the Miracle Cure: Is Ketamine an Efficacious Antidepressant?

This blog post is the result of a collaboration between Dr Lucy Robinson (Twitter, email) & me. Life with depression can be miserable, painful and sad. The suffering it causes is indubitable and it is imperative we do a better job at helping people feel better, with effective, practical, and long-lasting treatments. The promise of… Read more »

Ketamine as promising treatment for suicidal thoughts?

Imagine you are a group of scientists and want to find out whether a novel drug X works on a specific problem Y. You run the following study: You enroll a small sample of 14 participants who have the problem Y. You give these 14 participants your novel drug, but you do not enroll a… Read more »

Adjunctive Nutraceuticals as depression treatment

(Series: critical commentaries on depression trials. Prior posts: 1, 2, 3, 4) Antidepressants only marginally outperform placebos (Khan & Brown, 2015) – which has led to a number of novel strategies to try to improve treatment for patients suffering from depressive disorders. Adjunctive Nutraceuticals present one such strategy: providing patients with specific forms of dietary… Read more »

Hyperthermia as depression treatment

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A few months back, a study was published in JAMA Psychiatry claiming that whole-body hyperthermia is an effective treatment for depression (UPDATE: the paper was published in full now on August 6th 2016, some time after the online first print). For those who don’t know psychiatric journals very well, JAMA Psychiatry is currently ranked highest… Read more »

Adjunctive Brexpiprazole as depression treatment?

Dr. Fava and colleagues have published an antidepressant trial on adjunctive Brexpiprazole, a novel atypical antipsychotic drug that was developed to treat schizophrenia, in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. The trial consisted of 4 steps: The authors carefully selected 50 patients who had not shown improvements with their current antidepressant. These patients received 2 more… 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 »