Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Missed link to RDoC

My Frontiers paper (2015) ‘Against explanatoryminimalism in psychiatry’ Frontiers of Psychiatry 6: 171 is now out in proper format. But I realise that I missed a trick by not connecting it to issues raised in particular by Steve Hyman's Oxford lectures last month: the rise and rise of RDoC. This was suggested to me in an email over the weekend by a psychiatrist:

"Hi Tim,

I came across a copy of your recent paper “Against explanatory minimalism in psychiatry.” As I am not trained in philosophy, parts of it definitely “went over my head.” But, it seems to be quite relevant to a contemporary problem in American mental health research. That is, the National Institute of Mental Health is very focused on a neuroscientific model of mental health, and more specifically the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) framework:

This is controversial because it is impacting the types of projects that are and are not funded by NIMH, independent of scientific merit as determined by the review panels. Although not explicitly mentioned in your paper, the topic of your paper seems quite timely and relates to very pragmatic issues that is already having a profound long-term effect on psychiatric research. The RDoC framework is shaping the types of questions people are training to answer – with a huge emphasis on the “lower” levels of analysis, such as genetics/genomics, biomarkers, and at best, neural circuits, and much less on the actual lived-experience of people with mental illnesses."