PsychoTropical Research (PTR)
Hello, and welcome to ‘PsychoTropical’ which has now been my website for 20 years.
First, there is exciting news — very exciting news. The level of donations to the website this year (2018) has been sufficient to enable me to commit to employing a part-time assistant for my general research and writing, and for the website activities, and my ‘International MAOI expert group’ — this group is a big success, it is mobilizing many experts world-wide to take action concerning the steadily lessening availability of MAOIs.
This is a pivotal event in the history of the website, and of my work: until now my inability to do much keyboard work has significantly reduced my output, along with my limited expertise with the various computer programs, technologies, and internet platforms, necessary for optimal results. I need to spend my time researching and writing and giving seminars, not playing with computers.
So, look out for important changes in terms of linking things to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube videos etc., as well as increased content and functionality of the website itself.
Everyone reading this can contribute, with just a click, to helping achieve one of the most important goals that I have, in whatever working years may remain for me. That goal is restoring the knowledge and use of MAOIs to an appropriate place in the therapeutic armamentarium of doctors. Research and experience indicate achieving that will greatly benefit many people with severe depression (see ‘patient stories’), more than any other action.
Patients demanding such treatment from doctors will probably be the most important factor stimulating doctors to learn about them and prescribe them.
All readers have to do to contribute is to ‘click’, spread the word via whatever Apps you use, and we are working to further integrate more of those Apps into the website, so they are just a click away.
Donations — our life-blood
First, a huge and sincere thank you to those who have donated so far, and thus enabled these developments: we must all be sincerely grateful for their generosity. Donations to keep the website improving are of continuing importance, especially to keep our new assistant ‘on board’, and she deserves a proper rate of remuneration for the knowledge and experience and application she brings to our worthy cause. At the moment donations have allowed me to commit to employing her four hours per week, for the next six months; but it is important that is maintained, and if possible increased.
I am sure some less advantaged people feel that the little they can give is so small it won’t make a difference – but five dollars as a recurring donation once a month will now be extremely important in helping keep our assistant employed for as many hours as we can afford. Obviously, 100 people giving only five dollars a month would allow me to commit to employing her for an extra 4 hours per week — a lot can be done in four hours! So, do not think that a little donation is not useful.
The donate button is on the left of the screen and that is just a one-click process — but anyone can donate by just going straight to PayPal and entering my email address, it is that easy. You do not need a PayPal account in order to do that.
Many people who follow the advice on the website will save enormously on visits to doctors, treatment costs, hospitalization, etc. which in some cases will amount to thousands of dollars, even tens of thousands — never mind all the reduction in suffering and the resultant destruction of family, work, social, and leisure capability. A donation of $100, or $500, is little compared to those savings.
My website covers the effectiveness, and the good and bad effects, of drugs that act on the brain (neuro-pharmacology), especially anti-depressants, and the interactions between these drugs. The quintessential interaction being Serotonin Toxicity (ST), about which I am an internationally acknowledged authority. I am also an expert on the underused anti-depressants drugs called MAOIs. That requires me to be expert in drug adverse reactions and interactions involving most drugs that affect the nervous system, but especially: MAOIs, TCAs, SSRIs and SNRIs.
The content is all written by me: I am Dr Ken Gillman, a ‘Clinical Neuro-pharmacologist’ and a retired clinical psychiatrist. I have published many scientific review papers about neuro-pharmacology in prestigious journals. Details are in PubMed, the ‘Publications’ menu, and my ‘Google Scholar’ profile which is public:
This web site provides free information and expert critical analysis on many aspects of neuro-pharmacology. That involves explaining that drugs do not necessarily do what pharmaceutical companies think, or claim, they do. Inevitably, therefore, I discuss the influences that distort and degrade the accuracy and standard of much of the science that we all read (see menu ‘Bias in science’).
There is more information in ‘Philosophy and motivation’ about the website.
Feedback is helpful. I encourage anyone with questions and comments to contact me. I am often available on Skype and happy to speak with people – remember if you’re not confident that Skype can be used just as an instant text platform where I can respond by talking rather than typing (which is much easier for me because of my disability), you do not need to turn on your microphone or camera, or even have one.
Philosophy and motivation
The motivation to maintain this website is to help both doctors and patients, their families and friends, navigate the mass of mis-information they are confronted with: that necessitates experience and critical analysis. One prominent theme is the underuse of what are certainly the most effective of all anti-depressants, for those with severe depression, the old MAOIs, and the extensive mis-information and mis-understanding relating thereto. My editorial about this, titled ‘Much ado about nothing’ (1), was published early 2017 in ‘CNS Spectrums’, and my review about MAOIs and tyramine in 2018 in the J of Neural Transmission in Nov 2018 (2).
Unfortunately, mainstream medicine is almost as prone to distorted information and wishful thinking as is alternative health care. Mis-information is promulgated by powerful financially wealthy interest groups, especially the pharmaceutical companies, and others, including medical practitioners themselves (status, self-importance, wealth). See my critical commentaries collected under ‘Bias in science’.
I now think that the medical publication scene and the internet are such that my efforts are more productively directed to putting quality information on my web site, rather than getting more papers published in scientific journals (which nobody reads).
One significant major downside of capitalism is that it favours a plutocratic hegemony*: that is not good for science generally, nor is it good for patients, because it produces a strong distorting bias pushing doctors in the direction of using newer well-advertised expensive treatments, rather than the best treatments.
*If you think I used too many big words, just remember is all you have to do is right click on them to find an explanation or definition.
Well informed consumers are needed to drive change effectively and quickly, because direct attempts to re-educate doctors have not succeeded, largely because pharmaceutical companies have a stranglehold on post-graduate medical education (the plutocratic hegemony).
Writing scientific papers is time consuming, especially for me when keyboard work is limited due to my bad neck. I am not a professor, although people often assume that anyone who has published as many papers as I have must be a professor. That is a well-justified assumption since the typical ‘average’ professor has 1,000 citations and an ‘H-index’ of 14 (mine is 3,000 and 26) and I have published more original single-author review papers that almost any professor. If my alma mater still conferred the prestigious honorary degree of D.Sc. (Doctor of Science) I have been informed by a couple of eminent professors that I would be ‘in the running’.
My papers include recent reviews covering the interesting story of my discoveries about methylene blue (3, 4), which we have shown to be a monoamine oxidase inhibitor, as well as my review of the pharmacology of monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), much overdue since this is a neglected area (1, 2); and my review of neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) (5). My review paper about tricyclic antidepressants, in the British Journal of Pharmacology, has been influential and is the most cited paper in this field over the last thirty years (6).
- Gillman, PK, “Much ado about nothing”: monoamine oxidase inhibitors, drug interactions, and dietary tyramine. CNS Spectr, 2017: p. 1-3.
- Gillman, PK, A reassesment of the safety profile of monoamine oxidase inhibitors: elucidating tired old tyramine myths. J Neural Transm (Vienna), 2018. 125(11): p. 1707-1717.
- Gillman, PK, CNS toxicity involving methylene blue: the exemplar for understanding and predicting drug interactions that precipitate serotonin toxicity. J Psychopharmacol (Oxf), 2011. 25(3): p. 429-3.
- Ramsay, RR, Dunford, C, and Gillman, PK, Methylene blue and serotonin toxicity: inhibition of monoamine oxidase A (MAO A) confirms a theoretical prediction. Br J Pharmacol, 2007. 152(6): p. 946-51.
- Gillman, PK, Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome: Mechanisms, Interactions and Causality. Mov. Disord., 2010. 25(12): p. 1780-1790.
- Gillman, PK, Tricyclic antidepressant pharmacology and therapeutic drug interactions updated. Br J Pharmacol, 2007. 151(6): p. 737-48.
PsychoTropical: Dr Ken Gillman