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NYTimes: Post-Prozac Nation The Science and History of Treating Depression

May 4, 2013

An article from the New York Time Magazine from just over a year ago. It’s discussion of the state of thinking and practice around treating depression featuring an extensive reconsideration of Prozac and the edifice of the chemical imbalance theory. A good article by Siddhartha Mukherjee is an assistant professor of medicine in the division of medical oncology at Columbia University.

Our modern conception of the link between depression and chemicals in the brain was sparked quite by accident in the middle of the last century. In the autumn of 1951, doctors treating tubercular patients at Sea View Hospital on Staten Island with a new drug — iproniazid — observed sudden transformations in their patients’ moods and behaviors. The wards — typically glum and silent, with moribund, lethargic patients — were “bright last week with the happy faces of men and women,” a journalist wrote. Patients laughed and joked in the dining hall, as if a dark veil of grief had lifted. Energy flooded back and appetites returned. Many, ill for months, demanded five eggs for breakfast and then consumed them with gusto. When Life magazine sent a photographer to the hospital to investigate, the patients could no longer be found lying numbly in their beds: they were playing cards or dancing in the corridors.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/22/magazine/the-science-and-history-of-treating-depression.html

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