I got about half way through the article, couldn't finish it. Honestly, what this doctor is doing with TMS sounds just like what I saw the doctors do here. Throw crap at the wall and see what sticks.
Talk with the patient for fifteen minutes, prescribe them a drug cocktail, hold for a few days, say some mumbo jumbo about having a small spirit child inside you. You have to see a judge before we release you. Nevermind, no you don't. Time to go, boot them out the door.
And here's the HN crowd, getting all excited about the potential of micro dosing LSD. I think my baking soda volcano from grade school was more scientific.
I'm not saying there's no point in trying. I'm just saying I think we're over confident in what we think we know. At some point, it starts to feel like we're just making it up as we go along.
Brain chemistry such as neurotransmitter levels is clearly a factor in some mental health conditions. There is no serious dispute of this fact. But it's also clearly not the only factor.
This should be HN's tagline.
The behavior evinced by the researcher, Murphy, seems typical of the modern technologist. Hubris, plain and simple. A better scientist would be just as concerned with the failures and rejects as with the successes. His ready ties to the military research centers are immediately troubling and suspect to me. The kind of experimentation they have been known to support, (MK series), makes me think this Murphy guy got an all but official blank check for his work.
This TMS business is not quite half baked, not yet. They can talk about brainwaves and frontal lobes all day, but the facts are: the human mind is far too complicated to be fixed by a magnetic hammer, even when applied gently. Surmont's description of the TMS as a "digital narcotic" is probably worth more than any trial the FDA has ever done. Use of drugs and cannabis alongside brute force brainwave manipulation is a recipe for disaster. The problem with these treatments, is they completely fail to treat the real causes of mental instability. Reading through Surmont's life story, he is a textbook subject for mental experimentation. Unknown family history, Lack of a stable home, sexual abuse, military trauma, TBI, on and on. Hes a walking DSM-V. If I wanted someone I could use up and throw away, I couldnt find anyone better.
The real disgusting part about the whole affair is, that it is the same tired failures Ive seen before, in real life with people I know. Here's a secret that they will never admit to:
We have the technology to fix every case of "PTSD" that we get back from overseas. (TMS is not it btw). Being able to make and break the human mind are two sides of the same coin. The ability to thoroughly break and rebuild any human mind has been a trade secret of our intel agencies for about 40 years now. They are very good at it. All it would take, to solve PTSD, is to put the people who run those black projects in a talent exchange with the VA. But they will never give up thier secrets, and so men like Surmont are out there walking around untreated, like aging sticks of dynamite, sweating nitro.
I could go on for hundreds of pages about the sordid history of American military medical experimentation.
Im glad Surmont got a happy ending - somewhere in that San Diego daze, the man upstairs decided to help him out.
Do you have reason to believe that this is true specifically for the mind? I can't think of any other scenario where you would need to be able to make something in order to break it.
In general, I think the idea is that when we learn to create a type of thing, we also learn a great deal about new ways to destroy it.
I think the larger concern is people overselling any treatment. That’s especially true for anything even slightly experimental. Which is why Medicine is mostly taught from rote memorization over experimentation. That may occasionally fail some people, but as a system it’s avoiding a host of issues.
It’s never seemed bizarre to me. You could treat a broken leg using only morphine if you wanted to. The pain will probably go away, but the leg won’t get less broken.
I understand that palliative care has developed a connotation of "this is what we do for you when you're dying..." but the definition is e.g.
palliate verb (used with object), pal·li·at·ed, pal·li·at·ing.
to relieve or lessen without curing; mitigate; alleviate.
If treatments are applied based on symptoms rather than an understanding of the cause, they also tend to be palliative.
One cannot make a case that any given treatment for mental illness is merely palliative on the basis of duration.
Lifelong treatments are indeed not curative, but they are better than palliative care, which is better than nothing.
I'm not convinced. What about the side effects? I doubt you can break and rebuild someone's mind without lasting psychological damage. It's something intelligence agencies don't need to care about, but it's of crucial medical importance.
what evidence makes you think that this is the case? what's the technology to fix PTSD that you're speaking of?
This set off the crank alarm for me, which got even louder when he made claims about it being a sort of cure-all for psychiatric and even non-psychiatric problems (depression, PTSD, anxiety, concussion recovery, and even cognitive performance). Furthermore, he appeared to lack a technical or mathematical understanding of the technology itself, using only vague analogies about aligning the frequencies of different parts of the brain and whatnot. However, I'm not the one with titles and prestigious academic positions, so my complaints about his lack of evidence weren't taken too seriously.
I asked him direct questions, but he didn't answer much other than that his brother, a chiropractor, had helped him write the software for prTMS and designed the protocol (which I thought was very odd). Furthermore, he described prTMS as TMS-like treatment that was based on EEG readings and supposedly personalized, but given at a fraction of the intensity of usual TMS treatment (which made me skeptical that it would work).
I'm surprised that he was able to attract so many big-name patients and supporters - which included the Notre Dame University football team too. And, given that his lofty claims about prTMS are completely unsupported by research, I'm not surprised that it has reached the public eye.
Some of what was discussed in the article was news to me ($10 million in funds he said was for him, claims about Newport's surveillance, etc) However, none of it was surprising. He appears to have a history of disputes with his partners and employees (including at other offices that offered prTMS not mentioned in the article) and Notre Dame (he 'treated' their football team). It's a bit ridiculous to hear him claim that people's lawsuits and complaints are simply a result of jealousy and malicious behavior, considering his history of deceit.
Edit: it appears that he's under investigation for the university funds he took: http://rewired.inewsource.org/UC-San-Diego-Investigation-10-...
Well that is seriously not a good sign.
This doesn’t read like any methodical and rigorous research for a credible and effective treatment.