Irving Kirsch is a scientist at Harvard University School of Medicine who has been studying the placebo effect in relationship to antidepressants and his findings are extremely controversial. Through the Freedom of Information Act he was able to get access to complete studies of FDA approved antidepressants that had been kept from the public by the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture the drugs. His findings are astounding with regard to the powers of the placebo in treating depression. The claim that highly profitable antidepressant drugs are about as effective as a sugar pill, as one might expect is not popular. Science has been quick to criticize his studies and defend the merits of the medications that increase levels of serotonin or other neurotransmitters. In agreement with the pharmaceutical studies, some psychiatrists believe that Kirsch's work doesn't account for the varied degrees of depression and ignores the positive benefits to those with extreme cases of chronic depression. Please watch this fascinating clip below from a 60 minutes report on Kirsch's study of the Placebo Effect.
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