infomercial alert…

Posted on Wednesday 12 June 2013

In objectively…, I was taken with the coordinated triad of the the cover story, an editorial [Workplace Depression: Personalize, Partner, or Pay the Price], and a STAR*D article [Increase in Work Productivity of Depressed Individuals With Improvement in Depressive Symptom Severity] in this month’s American Journal of Psychiatry – all directed towards the cost burden of depression in the workplace. Jamzo, ever the sleuth, hypothesized that:
"this is part of a long term campaign to promote ‘national depression centers’. This seems like step in grand plan of National Network of Depression Centers"
based on this comment in the editorial by author, John F. Greden, M.D.:
…To achieve this, we must develop sustainable networks with “big-data” capacities. Networks that come and go with brief grant funding will not suffice. Early prototypes such as the National Network of Depression Centers have been started for depression, bipolar illness, and related conditions, but financial supports will be needed to fully develop their potential.
The editorial has this disclosure statement:

But on the National Network of Depression Centers web site, we find this:

So both the editorial’s author, John F. Greden MD, and the first author of the article, Madhukar Trivedi MD [supported by the NIMH funding of STAR*D] are on the Board of the National Network of Depression Centers [the late Diego Rivera, Communist Mexican Muralist who painted the accompanying cover art was unlikely on this or any other Board].

The National Network of Depression Centers is a non-profit consortium of twenty academic institutions all with varying implementations of a Depression Center with both Clinical and research arms. It looks to be modeled after the various Cancer Center networks:

National Network of Depression Centers

One of the most developed Centers is at the University of Michigan, directed by the former Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry there. Guess who?
Dr. John F. Greden is the Rachel Upjohn Professor of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences in the Department of Psychiatry, Founder and Executive Director of the University of Michigan Depression Center, Founding Chair, National Network of Depression Centers [NNDC], and Research Professor in the Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute. He joined the faculty at the University of Michigan Medical School in 1974 and served as Chair of Michigan’s Department of Psychiatry from 1985 to 2007 when he stepped down to focus on directing the Depression Center and developing the NNDC.
Whether you see the National Network of Depression Centers or the University of Michigan Depression Center as commercial enterprises or not, that editorial in the American Journal of Psychiatry [Workplace Depression: Personalize, Partner, or Pay the Price] was making a pitch for both of them. It wasn’t written to psychiatrists, it was written to donors, or insurance providers, or employers, or potential patients – but not to practitioners. And it was bouncing off of a report on an NIMH government funded study whose first author was also on the NNDC Board [also unmentioned]. It was essentially an infomercial disguised as an editorial published by the American Psychiatric Association in their official scientific journal.

Was there a conflict of interest on Dr. Greden’s part? Absolutely. Had he declared, "Dr. Greden is Executive Director of the National Network of Depression Centers and Executive Director of the University of Michigan Depression Center" for which we can only presume he is paid, one would’ve read that editorial in a very different light. Should the American Journal of Psychiatry have published an infomercial as an editorial? Absolutely not. And what about it being associated with an article about an NIMH Study penned by Dr. Trivedi? And what about the fact that Dr. Greden’s editorial is filled with Dr. Trivedi’s very familiar jargon about measurement-based care, sequencing, etc.? even though this paper didn’t support that sequencing algorithms are effective? and even though STAR*D is hardly a good example of measurement-based anything [see objectively… ]?

This was a bad show on all fronts. If the American Psychiatric Association wants to endorse the National Network of Depression Centers, write it up for the Psychiatric News
hat tip to Jamzo
    June 12, 2013 | 11:13 PM

    Before meeting with a pain specialist earlier this year, I got a package of forms from the V.A., that included a depression checklist. I refused and will continue to refuse. That was fine with her.

    I recommend a boycott of those checklists. Anyone who can’t look a person in the eye and talk to them and listen to them has no business claiming that they’re there to help. They may sincerely believe that they’re helping, and sincerely want to help; but NO— they’re participating in an exercise of dehumanization and perverse reductionism in the name of medical science and corporate efficiency.

    June 12, 2013 | 11:23 PM

    The “facts” from their website…

    Facts or Propaganda? –


    June 12, 2013 | 11:25 PM

    Their website needs a disclaimer:

    “There’s a sucker born every minute.”


    berit bryn-jensen
    June 13, 2013 | 8:10 AM

    To wiley.
    I was puzzled by your comment a couple of days ago, on the NSA no longer secret, but dangerously overreaching “Stasi”-surveillance of anyone and all, Europeans too, and would like to point you to

    June 13, 2013 | 6:49 PM

    I hope to finish saying what I think about that by Sunday, with links at my website. wileywitch dot com. You might want to read the top article on my page right now about the problems with medical equipment and cyber security. It gives a fine sketch of the issues involved in creating a secure computer network in hospitals that contains thousands of electronic devises, an enormous number of records, scads of users,, wi-fi, and devices that the manufacturers don’t want to incur the expense of making more security friendly products, no matter how much money they bilk from Medicaid and Medicare.

    None of this is as simple as the self-appointed juvenile “experts” on all things digital are saying it is.

    Here is a good source for information about what the NSA and the other NSA are here for, if you’re interested.

    June 13, 2013 | 7:08 PM

    A bit more on the unconflicted Dr. Greden: His Depression Center is part of the Pritzker Neuropsychiatric Consortium, a totally philanthropic project of the Pritzker family, which is heavily invested in pharma/biotech and whose scientific liaison is also the vice president of the Pritzker family’s biotech investment fund, Bay City Capital. Pritzker. Let’s see. That would be Penny Pritzker of Chicago, the new Secretary of Commerce? Yes it would.

    June 13, 2013 | 9:48 PM

    Coincidence, Johanna. Always. Things just fall together in the rarefied air of the inner circles. Can’t be avoided. All those great minds.

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