Sunday, April 18, 2010

Suspect with little evidence: The action of psych meds on injured brains is unpredictable

Another in a series of things I suspect but cannot prove ...

I suspect that the actions of psychiatric meds on injured brains cannot be predicted.

If this were true, it would not be surprising. It's hard to predict how psych meds affect even intact brains. In the injured brains of autism, mental retardation, and (presumably) schizophrenia we expect to find unusual neurotransmitter distributions, injured connections with recovery bypass routes, and areas of atypically high and low activity corresponding to injury and compensation.

If this were true, it would not mean we should avoid these meds. It would mean that we should look for unexpected side-effects, and perhaps be cautious about how we interpret response and failure. It would also mean that medications might be unexpectedly effective in atypical contexts.

Anyone know of any research on this? I doubt any research exists, there's unlikely to be funding for it.


Anonymous said...

I too would like to know the answer. My son has a brain injury presumed to have resulted from oxygen deprivation around the time of birth (peri ventricular leukomalacia). In his case it has resulted in ADHD, learning disabilities, speech /language issues, auditory processing difficulties, and almost-autistic behaviors. He's been on ADHD meds for a couple of years just to enable him to cope with an ordinary school atmosphere. They're having a mild effect at best.

Do you know of any results from treatments or studies on brain injured (TBI) military vets?

John Gordon said...

No, I've not seen anything on differential med effects for vets, but it's a good place to look. There might be some funding in that area.