Two Thought Experiments on Depression

The efficacy of antidepressants vs placebo seems to be quite a tricky issue, especially with all the media hype surrounding it. (Here is a very harsh attack, a somewhat neutral review, and a defence of antidepressants. I lean towards the defence for now.)

There are two studies I wish could be done, but which will remain confined to my speculations for obvious ethical violations:

1) A controlled study of patients of depression (spanning the whole range from mild to severe) who are being administered antidepressants without their knowledge. Would antidepressants treat depression when a patient doesn't even know he is taking the drug?

2) A controlled study of patients of depression who are prescribed antidepressants but are informed by doctors that the effect of the drug may not be any different from that of a placebo. Would antidepressants treat depression when a patient doesn't trust the drug?

Comments

Komal said…
These aren't thought experiments, dear friend of mine. They're hypothetical or suggested experiments :).

Anonymous said…
In my opinion, doctors are more cousins of scientists but are the direct descendants of Biblical Priests. ie if you have a spot with a white hair, have the priest look at it, etc. When people decided those particular "doctors" weren't getting the results they wanted, they found new ones, named Jesus and if you will, Muhammad.