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social, health, political imagery through the lens of George J Huba PhD © 2012-2019

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I was old enough to vote in my first presidential election in 1972 when I was 21 years old. I voted Democratic then and since then I have always voted for the Democratic candidate often as a perceived lesser of two evils. I voted for Hillary Clinton last year not because she was a good candidate or a good person (in my judgment) but she was better than Mr Trump who was the most extreme political presidential candidate since George Wallace and the most “out of it” candidate since Ross Perot. Before I could vote, I lived through the presidencies of Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon’s first term.

I have a neurodegenerative condition that makes me almost uncontrollably anxious at times, obsessive-compulsive at others, and not particular good at decision making. But more than ever, I think that Trump’s Fake Populism is a horrible way to run the USA and the World and I am pretty sure that in spite of cognitive decline my perceptions of Trump are accurate.

Trump’s behavior makes me very anxious and deeply concerned about the USA I will be leaving behind soon. A lot of Americans (according to recent polls, the majority) share my concerns that Trump is an extremely bad President.

I would personally feel much better if the USA required its presidential candidates to take non-partisan medical, neuropsychological, and psychological evaluations before assuming office and annually. My belief is that a group of actively practicing medical doctors enlisted in the Uniformed Services of the United States could make an overall assessment of an individual’s fitness to be “the most powerful person on earth” and commander in chief of the world’s largest army and largest biggest nuclear arsenal, as well as the architect and steward of the world’s largest budget. I note that medical doctors and other healthcare professionals in the US Uniformed Services have sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. It is reasonable to expect that the medical practitioners of the United States Uniformed Services can use due diligence and state-of-the-art medical skills to ensure that an individual honored with the duties of the President of the United States is physically and mentally fit to deal with the stresses of the job. I also note that 14 members of the 115th US Congress (2017-2019) are physicians (and 2 are Democrats while 12 are Republicans) and that I have confidence that their medical ethics and competence in medicine would permit a nonpartisan panel to oversee such an assessment (even though I vote as a very liberal Democrat). Perhaps Mr Trump has a medical condition affecting his ability to perform the duties of his office or perhaps he is just a bigoted, narcissistic, incompetent jerk who is quite successful at manipulating the voters of the USA, even without the assistance of Mr Putin and his hackers.

Is my cognitive decline causing my perceptions to slip in their accuracy or are my observations accurate descriptions of living for several months in #TrumpWorld?

Click on the image to expand.

Note. None of the 14 physicians in the current Congress has formal training in neurology. Since a neurological assessment is an important part of a medical exam for a 70-year old person, independent neurologists of either political party should also be part of a supervisory and assessment panel.

 

A few years ago I set out — as I have discussed in this blog many times — to “prove” that a person with dementia can use mind mapping in numerous ways to improve the quality of life.

Yes, a big “clinical trial” is the right way to make such a test. But I had no resources to run a clinical trial and even more importantly, no time and energy. And I mean time defined as “productive, predicted remaining life span.”

But I did have a willing participant with dementia (me) and a huge audience on social media. It is now about 4 1/2 years since I first posted a mind map on my blog site. The blog site www.Hubaisms.com now contains more than 1,000 mind maps and more than 700 posts.

Through my blog posts and their observations, usefulness to others, and my medical path, I’ve demonstrated that the technique can by used at least for one person on this planet daily and with results shown on the Internet for all to see.

No one should assume that because I believe that the method has proven effective for me that it will be effective for them. You should consult your own health care providers if you wish to try this for yourself or a person under your care.

There are many, many, many examples of the use of the methods on the blog site. What’s you excuse for not spending an hour reviewing them? My methods are useful with my dementia, but most also apply to — with a few adaptations — many other physical and mental diseases.

Click on the image below to expand it.

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Nomenclature: FTD is an acronym for Frontotemporal Dementia, the most common form of young onset (before age 65) dementia.

Mind modeling is an advanced form of mind mapping.

Part 2 of this series can be opened in a new window  by clicking here.

If I had to use one newspaper article of general interest to describe my fascination with mind mapping while I have frontotemporal dementia, I would select one that appeared in the New York Times in 2008. Interestingly the article appeared while I was in the beginning or middle stages of FTD but before diagnosis.

You can open that article in a new window by clicking the image below.

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Here is another article that recently appeared in the Wall Street Journal. I literally just read this article for the first time this morning while doing final editing of this post. I say that this was funny to me because I have started wearing old Hawaiian shirts from vacations to the islands of Hawaii I made in the 1990s and 2000s. [There is a reference in this article by EJ Sternberg MD to a man who with FTD who wore Hawaiian shirts every day.] I do note that I wash the shirts after wearing them one time and that it is in the 90s all summer in North Carolina. Click the image to open the article and learn about Hawaiian shirts, art, and frontotemporal dementia.

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There are a number of similar articles on the Internet.

While I have only rarely (as an example of what you could do) set out to create a mind map that was “Art” (with a capital A), I think many of my thousands of mind maps in this blog can be viewed (as incredibly boring and elementary or interesting and mind capturing) “art” (with a lower case a).

I create mind maps as a way to organize thoughts, manage my life, communicate with others, and document the course of my neurodegenerative condition and methods of coping with it. As art, not really, but I greatly enjoy merging colors and shapes and especially fonts with information and VISUAL THINKING. But over five years, I have gotten pretty good (at least in my estimation) in applying the colors and designs and elements of paintings into my computer-assisted mind maps. As my conception of a traditional Buzan-style mind map has evolved significantly, I have also entered another plane of combining information with elements of art to express my conclusions better and worked out a theory of mind modeling that expanded the concept of the mind map. This blog has more than 750 posts and several thousand mind models/maps ALL created since I have had diagnosed with FTLD (formerly as the PSP variant and then as FTD).

You can access my concept of the MIND MODEL by clicking the link. More important for an INDEX of my mind model theoretical writings, click this second link The results open in a new window.

Based on my experience — and my experience ONLY — I wonder if my use of organic mind models (AKA mind maps) with professional experience, observations, data, and my conclusions show how artistic impulses can be combined with mind models as a communication method during various stages of FTD.

Below are some examples of my recent mind models (AKA mind maps). Art is in the eye of the beholder and I hope you have a benevolent eye. Clicking on any of the images will expand its size.

The process of my mind models is described throughout this blog. In simple summary, it takes me 1-2 hours to create one of these mind models (now). When I walk away from the computer I often forget what map I am working on and an hour of two after posting it on my blog I have no idea what my most recent posts were and I have to go to the web site and look at the index. However, when I open a post and look at the map for even a minute or two, I can immediately recover my logic for creating it.

Yeah, it baffles me too even after 35 years of practice as a psychologist doing research on altered states of consciousness (drug abuse and its treatment), imagery and daydreaming, elder abuse and dementia, aging and nursing models, mental illness, neuropsychological testing, and evaluating healthcare and social care.

During this same period of neurodegenerative disease I have become a rudimentary sketch noter, doodler, and sketcher who spends several hours a day “playing” with pens and pencils and more recently watercolor inks and an assortment of typing papers and artist sketch pads. Am I any good at that stuff. NO. But, it does help organize my life and plan and remember. Most importantly, it makes me feel calmer and happy.

Click on the images to expand them.

What Does Living Well with Dementia Mean

Trust Findings from [Peer-Reviewed] Health Professional Meetings I Can Sell You Idaho or California.

Mind Model vs Organic-Style Mind Map

Persons with Dementia and Family Caregivers Partnership and Reciprocal Relationship

Adult Coloring Books & Imaginative Drawing & Doodling & MindModeling & Aging

To Live Well with Dementia You Need to Commit to Being a Life-Long Learner

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And I typically make between 10-50 like doodles like the following examples daily, often while watching TV or sitting in my bright kitchen looking out the window. It helps soothe the savage beast! And, I am especially obsessed with color shades.

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HITMM  2016

Click here for an index of all HITMM 2016 blog posts and links.

Starting April 18, 2016, I am uploading a series of posts collectively comprising Huba’s Integrated Theory of Mind Mapping or HITMM. These are being marked with the year of publication 2016 and a number in parentheses indicating the order of the post in the series.

Note that this series of posts is an overall theory of the best practices for mind mapping in real applied fields (that is, just about everything but the itsy, bitsy teeny, weeny, fairly trivial examples used in mind mapping books and courses).

My goal has been to develop a series of guidelines that are practical for patients, caregivers, clients, general folks, professionals, healthcare providers, scientists, organizations, and yes, even butchers, bakers and possibly even attorneys.

Watch for the first five or six posts this week. I am anticipating about a dozen or more posts on this topic.

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It’s taken me a year to develop these guidelines and justifications and about 1000 mind maps written for actual applications, not toy maps like those used by others. I have also tested a lot of my ideas with various readers of my blog including people with cognitive impairment and dementia, students, health care providers, the general public, caregivers, doctors, lawyers, family members of medical patients and those with mental illness, and many other types of people among the more than 110,000 people who get direct notices of my blog posts via Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, and Facebook.

I believe that this is the first set of mind mapping guidelines which has ever received so much comment through the wizardry and participation opportunities in social media and world-wide opportunities to study it on a web site of 600 blog posts.

Oh, and in case you wonder, I am not a relative of P. T. Barnum. Rather, I have worked 35 years as a research psychologist-program evaluator-psychometrician, received honors from the two major psychological associations in the USA, visited more 500 clinics serving most types of behavioral and medical diseases and disorders and studied their operations, and have lived well for a number of years with dementia and used these techniques myself. I also worked for a few years on the development of several major neuropsychological diagnostic tests and know how to read peer-reviewed papers in cognitive psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and clinical neurology. And I am not going to promote outdated (often fictional) ideas attributed to psychology and neuroscience and neurology such as split brains, 90% of the brain’s work being done by 10% of the brain, or digital models of an analog brain typically found in mind mapping books.

The guidelines I am presenting are the best ones I know of to help you develop mind maps that may help you to have a more productive, happier, and maybe healthier life or help you help someone else. I am not claiming that mind maps will change your brain (no definitive research has ever been on that issue which seems quite sad given the amount of money made by those who teach $5,000 courses and have $10,000 per day consulting practices justified by implying that definitive research supports everything they sell). To be specific to my case, I do not claim mind maps can cure or prevent dementia or fix up a damaged brain. But do I think it is easier to navigate the typical or dementia-affect world in a way that is joyful with a higher quality of life than one would otherwise have been able to have without using mind maps, other visual thinking tools, or related tools. What I present are NOT brain training methods of which I am somewhat skeptical, but rather thinking tools (much as traditional arithmetic and mathematics, letter writing and the creation of literature, as well as organizing, filing, using balance and spreadsheets, and drawing charts are commonly used thinking tools).

A lot of kids grow up wanting to be football players or ballerinas or doctors or musicians or lawyers or politicians or POTUS or dog catchers or (heaven forbid) whale trainers at Sea Wiorld. When I was 10 I used to write Huba’s Theory of [Whatever I was Working On at the Time] in my school notes and doodles. I was still doing so in graduate school working on my PhD degree.

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Am I trying to sell you something? Not really. All of what I know — in the most accessible way I know how to present it while having dementia — is in the posts on this blog. Yes, I copyright the posts and images so that they will not be taken from here and taken out of the context of the larger work. And yes, I may choose to synthesize the work in books or applications. But the core information is all here, free, and will continue to be so. Please cite the work appropriately if you use or quote it.

You can read all of this for free and comment on it for 100,000+ other people to see in the comments section of every post. Love it, say so and why. Hate it, say so and why. All I ask that you do not hide behind a pseudonym or “anonymous” identity. The only comments I do not approve for the site are those that contain blatant advertising, attacks on individuals other than me, spam detected by automatic processors, malware and viruses, bigotry, and possibly offensive statements that go far beyond the usual four, five, and six letter words I use to make emphatic points.

I cannot and will not give individual psychological, health, or medical advice and nothing in this blog should be interpreted as such. Except in very rare cases, I cannot help you develop or debug any of your own work. That’s just the way it has to be in my universe of trying to get as much done as possible while undergoing cognitive decline. I’m happy with the way I am approaching all of this.

George Huba, PhD
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
April 2016

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I started this blog in the Fall of 2012. At the time I began, I was looking for something intellectual to do in retirement, wanted to talk about what I had learned over 35 years of evaluating health and social programs, and wanted to present many of my thoughts in mind maps.

And I had a hidden agenda.

In late 2009 I had been diagnosed preliminarily as having a neurodegenerative disease, probably progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) or frontotemporal dementia (FTD); this was formalized in early 2010.  In the years since my initial diagnosis, both working original diagnoses have been put in a related category of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) with a number of other neurodegenerative diseases.My own dementia exhibits features of several of the FTLD disorders, something reported by both my own neurologist and a number of peer-reviewed publications as a common occurrence.

Over the years,I blogged, I spouted off about inequities and the denial of basic human rights. There was interest and my related Twitter following skyrocketed as I retweeted and commented about health-related issues and introduced the posts appearing on my blog.

I did not disclose that I had neurodegenerative disease and had progressed into dementia. I did not disclose that I had great difficulty writing without the mind maps and other visual thinking methods to support the generation of words. I did not disclose that I had neurodegenerative disorder for two reasons. First, I simply was not ready to disclose this for my own sake and that of my family. Second, as a psychologist, I was curious to see if anything would change when readers realized that I was writing while having the dreaded Big D that most readers equated with total mental disintegration and Alzheimer’s in its very advanced stages.

I kept plugging along at about 20 posts a month and gaining several thousand Twitter followers each month who also receive regular updates about my blog posts.

At the beginning of 2015 I started to write about my neurological problems, diagnosis, and what I felt and how I perceived things. I started to emphasize that my prior writings about mind mapping in a theoretical way designed to illustrate a useful tool were in fact descriptions of how the blog was written and how the methods helped me.

My hypothesis that some professionals who had regularly retweeted my work before the disclosure of dementia would stop doing so after I disclosed my medical status. I understand that as many may be concerned with identifying with my positions. That’s OK, my ideas are no more or less valid than they were in 2014 in the absence of compelling empirical studies. A lot of individuals with dementia and their caregivers as well as healthcare providers have at the same time discovered my work and provided feedback that the information and methods are useful to them.

Had you asked me 2012 what I expected for the blog I would have estimated 100-200 posts in total and that by 2016 I would either be dead or “cognitively dead.” I believe that neither is true and that I have many hundreds of posts left. I am aiming for 1000 before before I stop. Because of the acts of producing the blog, and the support of the blogging and tweeting communities, and critical visual thinking tools pioneered by Buzan, Rohde, and others, I think I might hit that goal and I feel calmer and more centered and more productive than I did in November 2011 when I retired. My focus is now more narrow and I am channeling my energy into talking about what what I have learned about the experience of dementia and how to use tools that might allow you to live well with dementia.

The most important thing I have learned since 2012 is that you can live well WITH dementia if you can force yourself to stop denying the dementia or fighting to be like you were before dementia and instead focus on the reality of dementia and how to live the most productive, joyful, and useful way possible during that stage of life. Life does not stop at dementia if you acknowledge it, change how you approach life a little, and then go ahead and enjoy all the good things available to you.

The methods I present in this blog are revolutionary and evolutionary. While many claim to have invented or otherwise codified the pretty pictures of mind mapping, none have developed systematic ways of presenting, communicating, and understand healthcare and medical information that can be productively used by patients, caregivers, and care providers of many types. Along the way, I have modified a number of the methods (especially by greatly extending, clarifying, and revising the work of Buzan and correcting many mistakes) based not only on my experiences as a psychologist with dementia who has studied literally hundreds of healthcare facilities over three decades, but also as one who has studied cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience, especially in the past five years.

As usual, here is a mind map. Please click on the image to expand it.

And, THANK YOU.

The presentation contains a random assortment of images from the blog. These images are the best way I know to communicate knowledge in a way that is accessible to most.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I hate clutter. I’ve always had far too much stuff around, usually shoved in an unused closet, the garage, storage. Old questionnaires, old clothes, old pens most run dry by now, old external data drives (in case I need an email from 1990), old office supplies, old books from grad school in the 1970s that no current grad student wants for free (no grad students buy boring professional journals in paper formats anymore), boxes of new file folders (which no one uses in the computer ages), old jeans (as sizes went up and sometimes down over the years), t-shirts from the 1980s, and who knows what else. I also inherited a bunch of family heirlooms (mostly junk but including my treasured Eagle Scout badge and transcript from grad school) in boxes from my mother. The organization systems I have tried to implement since the early 1970s have never really worked that well.

And the reason “disorganized and cluttered” could be dealt with easily was that I had a very organized mind and my memory was like a steel trap; if I had observed or read or heard it, the information was there. And, damn it, I never learned to clean up after myself because there were always more exciting and new things to do. And if I needed something the odds were extremely high I could find it the random box where it had been placed.

And this was before the Internet, before the Internet with Google, before the Internet with voice-controlled Google. Information organization needs have exploded.

And this was before I had a neurodegenerative disease with memory loss, significantly lowered ability to multi-task and make decisions, a big temper when frustrated, lowered ability to separate perceptual field from ground (or the object I wanted in the clutter), and many other dementia symptoms.

Now clutter just destroys me. I waste time every day trying to find things, organize things, decide what to throw out and what to keep, and putting things where I can find them. I get extremely anxious and agitated in clutter but cannot figure what to discard without then facing a world-shattering event without the one paper or piece of clothing or knife or key or medical records that would save the world.

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The 1985 Chicago Bears are considered by many to be the best professional football team of all time.

The coach was Hall of Fame player and coach “Iron Mike” Ditka. Ditka was the ultimate “rough and tough” player and coach. The 1985 team he coached won Super Bowl XX handily.

In 2015, Ditka was interviewed on television by Bryant Gumbel. In the interview Ditka admitted that if he had an 8-year old son he would not want his son to ever play football. Gumbel answered the same way. With a lot of emotion, Mike Ditka stated that his career as a player and coach had made football a major part of his entire life. But there was no way he would want a family member to play the game.

(more…)

This is the ninth installment of a series of posts in which I record videos of making mind maps from scratch. The other blog posts are reached through these links.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8


PWD = Person with Dementia, a common acronym for those who have the symptoms of dementia, no matter which specific neurodegenerative disease causes them.

This was a very hard mind map for me to develop. At least in my case there are three types of memory loss (one of which a caregiver might not actually think of as memory loss) which I deal with daily.

The first part of the mind map took me 40:20 in real time to do. The video of that stage is given below. As with my other mapping videos, this one uses time-lapse to compress 8 minutes into 1.

I walked away from the computer and did not continue until about 22 hours later. The second part of the mind map took me 30:40 minutes to develop. So, the entire mind map took me 71 minutes to complete. I have had maps that have taken me much longer to develop than this one, although lately I have gotten much faster and this process was slower than most in the last 3 months. I attribute it to trying to map a clear statement of something not identified in the mind map literature.

The final version of the map is shown statically below. I corrected 2 typographic errors I found while converting this to a standard image.

For those who prefer a verbal summary I propose three types of “memory loss” that I experience.

Type I: What most observers consider “memory loss.” Knowledge and mental records disappear completely or are not reliably retrieved as in when I mistakenly call my children by each other’s names or use functional words (grass cutter for lawn mower).

Type 2: Delayed retrieval. This is a recurring problem for me on verbal questions from others. I say that I know the answer but it may not come back to me for 9 seconds or 90 seconds or 90 minutes. Has a huge impact on conversation!

Type 3: Forget how to start. I may know that I am supposed to get up and take a pill or take the garbage out or many other sequential tasks. I know that too, at least on a part time basis. But a very short time after thinking about the task I forget to start. This is not entirely an attention issue, although it is partially so. Primarily it is a problem of performing a sequence of tasks, any of which might be forgotten. Others may easily interpret this problem as one of refusing to take the garbage out or delay or just plain laziness or being engaged in watching a sports events on TV. I experience this as a memory issue in which I forget to start a chain of behaviors or how to perform one part way through the chain. Definitely “gets me in trouble.”

As a note, I can deal with intellectual “chains” (Type 3) pretty well with mind maps. The key feature is that mind maps need not be “written” in a linear form, but rather you can jump from task-to-task or idea-to-idea. Most experienced advanced mind mappers do not think linearly while they are mapping nor do groups using mapping for brainstorming or other group tasks.

3 types of  Memory Loss  experienced  in Dementia

This is a video of my creation from scratch a mind map explaining why I have chosen to make my mind maps so “odd” or stylistically unique as I prefer to call them. The map took 38 minutes to create and is compressed so that 8 minutes in the original are 1 minute in the video below.

This is my seventh blog post showing how I mind map. Here are links to the prior videos.


Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6


I am not sure if my mind maps will look more odd to individuals who are very experienced in mind mapping or to those who have little exposure to them. As both my skill in mind mapping and my dementia has progressed, my mind maps have gotten more unique or “odd” as some may characterize them. The colors are getting brighter, the branches more pronounced, the fonts relatively larger and many stylistic elements are ones you probably have never seen before. The images … well … I spend a lot of time looking for very unique ones and sometimes create my own out of either my photographs or public domain pictures and an editor.

I think the maps are more useful because I view them partially as art and my hobby and my style is getting pretty recognizable. I “own” my mind maps psychologically which encourages pride which motivates me to use them more and more. The cycle is a positive one.

These odd mind maps address a key issue in cognitive impairment, dementia, and mental illness: LACK OF MOTIVATION. These odd maps and their creation motivate me in various ways to complete tasks. This fact is extremely important.

The first image shows a static version of the final mind map ….

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and the second a simulated 3-dimensional version. Note that I personally rarely see any advantage in the 3-d versions and do not typically use them. But you might want to.

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Remember the “gold standard” research paradigm for determining if a medical treatment works: the DOUBLE BLIND, RANDOM ASSIGNMENT EXPERIMENT?

The design has historically been considered the best way to “prove” that new medical interventions work, especially if the experiment is replicated a number of times by different research teams. By the double blind (neither the treating medical team nor the patient know whether the patient is taking a placebo or active medication) design, investigators expect to negate the placebo effects caused by patient or medical staff beliefs that the “blue pill” is working.

A key part of virtually all double-blind research designs is the assumption that all patient expectations and reports are independent. This assumption is made because of the statistical requirements necessary to determine whether a drug has had a “significantly larger effect” as compared to a placebo. Making this assumption has been a “standard research design” feature since long before I was born more than 60 years ago.

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Google the name of a new drug in clinical trials. You will find many (hundreds, thousands) of posts on blogs, bulletin boards for people with the conditions being treated with the experimental drug, and social media, especially Twitter and Facebook. Early in most clinical trials participants start to post and question one another about their presumed active treatment or placebo status and whether those who guess they are in the experimental condition think the drug is working or not. Since the treatments are of interest to many people world-wide who are not being treated with effective pharmaceuticals, the interest is much greater than just among those in the study.

Google the name of a new drug being suggested for the treatment of a rare or orphan disease that has had no effective treatments to date and you will find this phenomenon particularly prevalent for both patients and caregivers. Hope springs eternal (which it SHOULD) but it also can effect the research design. Obviously data that are “self reported” from patient or caregiver questionnaires can be affected by Internet “the guy in Wyoming says” or the caregiver of “the woman in Florida.”

OK you say, but medical laboratory tests and clinical observations will not be affected because these indices cannot be changed by patient belief they are in the experimental or placebo conditions. Hhmmm, Sam in Seattle just posted that he thinks that he in the experimental condition and that his “saved my life” treatment works especially well if you walk 90 minutes a day or take a specific diet supplement or have a berry-and-cream diet. Mary in Maine blogs the observation that her treatment is not working so she must be in the placebo condition and becomes very depressed and subsequently makes a lot of changes in her lifestyle, often forgetting to take the other medications she reported using daily before the placebo or experimental assignment was made.

Do we have research designs for the amount of research participant visible (blogs, tweets, bulletin boards) and invisible (email, phone) communication going on during a clinical trial? No. Does this communication make a difference in what the statistical tests of efficacy will report? Probably. And can we ever track the invisible communications going on by email? Note that patients who do not wish to disclose their medical status will be more likely to use “private” email than the public blog and bulletin board methods.

Want an example. Google davunetide. This was supposed to be a miracle drug for the very rare neurodegenerative condition PSP. The company (Allon) that developed the drug received huge tax incentives in the USA to potentially market an effective drug for a neglected condition. The company, of course, was well aware that after getting huge tax incentives to develop the pharmaceutical, if the drug were to prove effective in reducing cognitive problems (as was thought), it would then be used with the much more common (and lucrative from the standpoint of Big Pharma) neurodegenerative disorders (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s) and schizophrenia.

Patients scrambled to get into the trial because an experimental medication was better than no medication (as was assumed, although not necessarily true) and the odds were 50/50 of getting the active pills.

Patients and caregivers communicated for more than a year, with the conversations involving patients from around the world. In my opinion, the communications probably increased the placebo effect, although I have no data nor statistical tests of “prove” this and it is pure conjecture on my part.

The trial failed miserably. Interestingly, within a few weeks after announcing the results, the senior investigators who developed and tested the treatment had left the employ of Allon. Immediately after the release of the results, clinical trial participants (the caregivers more than the patients) started trading stories on the Internet.

Time for getting our thinking hats on. I worked on methodological problems like this for 30+ years, and I have no solution, nor do I think this problem is going to be solved by any individual. Teams of #medical, #behavioral, #communication, and #statistical professionals need to be formed if we want to be able to accurately assess the effects of a new medication.

Click on the image to expand.

Clinical Trial  Double-Blind  Treatment Evaluation  in the Era of the Internet

One of the huge changes in the USA during my 62 years of life is that our country made great strides in recognizing the legal rights of all to be treated the same and fairly.

The decision of the US Supreme Court yesterday that the Defense of Marriage Act (defining marriage as a heterosexual couple) was unconstitutional is another giant step ahead for the USA.

I watched my own profession of psychology go from antiquated views of homosexuality (as a mental disorder-disease) to taking official stances that homosexuality was not associated with mental illness, LGBT marriages were as “healthy” as heterosexual ones, and that LGBT couples could raise children who were as healthy as those raised by heterosexual couples.

Why did psychologists take those official positions? The answer is very simple: well-designed and executed empirical research made it clear that LGBT couples (married or not) were stable, healthy pairings of mutually attracted adults.

I congratulate my LGBT friends and colleagues for persisting in the long, difficult, and expensive fight for equality in the USA. Their achievement moves America much further ahead.

I await the day when all remaining discrimination is eliminated in the USA.

Position Opening: Physician. Thousands of opening available throughout USA. All specialties. Highest priority for primary care.

Requirements:

Four-year medical degree, several years of supervised post-doctoral clinical experience. Additional research experience a plus. In possession of a medical license within the state of practice.

Proven effectiveness in communicating with ill, confused, poor, disenfranchised patients, many with co-occuring mental illness and/or chemical dependency and cognitive impairment. Fluency in written and oral Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Farsi, Tagalog, and Arabic a plus.

Ability to work closely with a multi-disciplinary team and communicate well with nurses, social workers, allied health professionals, patients, families, insurers, and malpractice lawyers all of whom may complain at any time that the physician asserts too much influence on patient care.

Willingness to work in conditions were salaries are decreasing annually, patient-doctor ratios are expected to be dramatically higher, and one will be subject to working long work weeks, religious and family holidays, and on an irregular schedule.

Ability to work in a larger healthcare system subject to rules of practice detrimental to patient care with unnecessary and inappropriate regulations, attacks from the public as well as politicians and the press, frivolous malpractice lawsuits that require expensive and lengthy litigation, and very high accompanying stress.

Ability to accurately make life-death decisions while stressed, tired, and in non-optimal settings. Willingness to do so for a low compensation rate.

Willingness to maintain licensure and take regular continuing education courses without compensation.

Ability to spend a large percentage of time completing unnecessary forms in order to obtain insurance reimbursement and to avoid frivolous malpractice lawsuits.

Compensation Range: very low to low.

Immediate openings throughout United States.