Heralded discovery that a single gene causes depression now dismissed

Here is further indication of the fact that much of today’s scientific establishment is profoundly unreliable—because, like the rest of modern liberal society, its highest value is not truth, but desire. (Remember Ida “the missing link”? Remember the first European as a Negro? And that’s just in the last month.) Today’s New York Times reports:

One of the most celebrated findings in modern psychiatry—that a single gene helps determine one’s risk of depression in response to a divorce, a lost job or another serious reversal—has not held up to scientific scrutiny, researchers reported Tuesday….

“I think what happened is that people who’d been working in this field for so long were desperate to have any solid finding,” Kathleen R. Merikangas, chief of the genetic epidemiology research branch of the National Institute of Mental Health and senior author of the new analysis, said in a phone interview. “It was exciting, and some people thought it was the finding in psychiatry, a major advance.”

The excitement spread quickly. Newspapers and magazines reported the finding. Columnists, commentators and op-ed writers emphasized its importance. The study provided some despairing patients with comfort, and an excuse—“Well, it is in my genes.” It reassured some doctors that they were medicating an organic disorder, and stirred interest in genetic testing for depression risk….

The authors conclude that the widespread acceptance of the original findings was premature, writing that “it is critical that health practitioners and scientists in other disciplines recognize the importance of replication of such findings before they can serve as valid indicators of disease risk” or otherwise change practice.

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Gintas writes:

It’s a meme in action! Pretty cheeky meme, too.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 17, 2009 05:36 PM | Send

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