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Let the drugs lead the way! On the unfolding of a research programme in phychiatry

Mulinari, Shai LU (2018) In Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology
Abstract
Following reports in the late 1950s of a correlation between the effects of psychotropic drugs on monoamine metabolism and on affective states, it became generally accepted that brain monoaminergic systems contributed to the pathophysiology of depression. After this, psychiatric researchers continued to pursue the neurochemical effects of antidepressants, hoping to gain novel insights into the biology of depression, what researchers themselves have referred to as the “pharmacological bridge”. In this way researchers repeatedly adapted their field’s theoretical framework to fit conflicting evidence without challenging underlying and highly questionable assumptions concerning the specificity of psychotropic drug treatments. The result is a... (More)
Following reports in the late 1950s of a correlation between the effects of psychotropic drugs on monoamine metabolism and on affective states, it became generally accepted that brain monoaminergic systems contributed to the pathophysiology of depression. After this, psychiatric researchers continued to pursue the neurochemical effects of antidepressants, hoping to gain novel insights into the biology of depression, what researchers themselves have referred to as the “pharmacological bridge”. In this way researchers repeatedly adapted their field’s theoretical framework to fit conflicting evidence without challenging underlying and highly questionable assumptions concerning the specificity of psychotropic drug treatments. The result is a series of depression theories, in which neuroplasticity theories are the most recent addition. The author employs Imre Lakatos’ concept of “research programme” to investigate this chronological sequence of theories. It is proposed that for over thirty years the pharmacological bridge provided direction to a psychiatric research programme; more recently, however, it has come under siege as new laboratory technologies, such as neuroimaging, have increasingly replaced drugs as standard tools to investigate neuropathophysiology. Thus, this work illustrates how the epistemological and technological aspects of research intertwine in the history of psychiatry in general and the field of depression in particular. (Less)
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Contribution to journal
publication status
in press
subject
in
Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology
publisher
Johns Hopkins University Press
ISSN
1086-3303
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
74a6d9c8-580c-46cf-a0b5-bbf0a3d3c0d3 (old id 3127642)
date added to LUP
2016-03-10 14:18:44
date last changed
2018-05-29 10:21:31
@article{74a6d9c8-580c-46cf-a0b5-bbf0a3d3c0d3,
  abstract     = {Following reports in the late 1950s of a correlation between the effects of psychotropic drugs on monoamine metabolism and on affective states, it became generally accepted that brain monoaminergic systems contributed to the pathophysiology of depression. After this, psychiatric researchers continued to pursue the neurochemical effects of antidepressants, hoping to gain novel insights into the biology of depression, what researchers themselves have referred to as the “pharmacological bridge”. In this way researchers repeatedly adapted their field’s theoretical framework to fit conflicting evidence without challenging underlying and highly questionable assumptions concerning the specificity of psychotropic drug treatments. The result is a series of depression theories, in which neuroplasticity theories are the most recent addition. The author employs Imre Lakatos’ concept of “research programme” to investigate this chronological sequence of theories. It is proposed that for over thirty years the pharmacological bridge provided direction to a psychiatric research programme; more recently, however, it has come under siege as new laboratory technologies, such as neuroimaging, have increasingly replaced drugs as standard tools to investigate neuropathophysiology. Thus, this work illustrates how the epistemological and technological aspects of research intertwine in the history of psychiatry in general and the field of depression in particular.},
  author       = {Mulinari, Shai},
  issn         = {1086-3303},
  language     = {eng},
  publisher    = {Johns Hopkins University Press},
  series       = {Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology},
  title        = {Let the drugs lead the way! On the unfolding of a research programme in phychiatry},
  year         = {2018},
}