$10 Million Psychiatric Research of Mice Fails to Find Cause of Human Depression
Citizens Commission on Human Rights International has sent official letters to organizations and federal agencies overseeing mental health issues, including psychiatric research, asking that they remove from their websites any mention that a chemical imbalance in the brain underlies any mental disorder. This is in response to a study published earlier this year in the esteemed medical journal Molecular Psychiatry where researchers at University College London (UCL) concluded with resounding finality that there is no causal relationship between an alleged “chemical imbalance” in the brain and depression. At the same time, CCHR reviewed the expenditure of taxpayer dollars on psychiatric research that may still forward this theory and found more than $10 million in 2022 alone allocated to studying the brain function of rodents, animals, songbirds, and fish in a failed attempt to find an etiology for or to understand human behavior, including depression.
The letter, sent to agencies such as the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), states that “the psychiatric community long ago knew that the low-serotonin story of depression was untrue, yet told the public otherwise, which created a false belief that many millions of patients acted upon.” This is a failure to give patients the information needed to make an informed choice, and is a lie that can no longer be perpetuated, says CCHR.
The group sees the letters as running up against millions of research dollars still being spent trying to prove the idea that brain chemicals control our lives: “In psychiatry, everything from the soul to human emotion and behavior is erroneously seen as brain-based, requiring chemical or electrical ‘interventions’ as a means to control, but never to cure the problems that ail individuals.”
CCHR questions why taxpayer dollars are still being wasted on studies pursuing the chemical imbalance or similar theories. In 2022, NIMH gave $317,894 to researchers looking at mice for a “molecular basis for the etiology of depressive disorders,” and claimed that “the manifestation of depression is thought to be due to the imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain.”
Robert Lanza, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer at the Astellas Institute for Regenerative Medicine and Adjunct Professor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, pointed out the current scientific paradigm doesn’t recognize the spiritual dimension of life. “We’re told we’re just the activity of carbon and some proteins; we live a while and die” and, falsely, “Everything knowable about the ‘soul’ can be learned by studying the functioning of the brain.”
In 2022, NIMH requested a budget of $2.2 billion, an increase of $107.7 million over FY 2021. In 1999, the annual NIMH budget was around $900 million. Today’s budget is 144% higher, while the population growth increase is only 21% for the same period. Researching a biological basis for human travail merely serves $35 billion a year in psychiatric drug sales, as new drugs get developed to meet the biological approach to mental health issues. Since 1997, when sales of psychotropic drugs topped $1.5 billion, there has been a 2,233% increase in such sales.
There is an ominous side to psychiatric research which demands government vigilance. In 1998, CCHR exposed wasteful research funding where in trying to understand human behavior, NIMH spent $1,505,326 to examine the behavior of Norwegian rat-pups for 21 years; $3,156,044 on a 30-year study on the “the vocal learning” of birds, and a $771,805 15-year research project studied Whiptail Lizards.
More than 20 years later, things haven’t improved. A sample of about 20 mental health-related research studies in 2022 alone reveals over $10.6 million allocated to study mice, zebrafish, birds, and monkeys. Much of it is an attempt to connect brain cells and activity to human behavior.
Some of the studies make damning admissions to justify their funding, such as that current medications for depression “were discovered largely by serendipity and act non-specifically, leading to unwanted side effects in addition to suboptimal effectiveness.” $71,992 was allocated to study mice to improve this. Another study stated that “only 60-70% of patients with Major Depressive Disorder respond to first-line therapies, and responders have lasting impairments and recurrences.” Because of this failure, the brain changes associated with the “anxiety/depression-like behavior” of mice are being studied.
One $3,167,713 study has researchers tackling the brain changes in experiments across species (mice, non-human primates, and humans) to study “avoidance behaviors.” $687,798 is allocated to look for any neural mechanism linked to social interactions by observing birds, bats, rodents, cats, equids [horses], and primates. Macaques (forest-dwelling Old World monkeys) are being studied at a cost of $681,098 while $249,000 is for studying zebrafish to understand “schizophrenia” and autism. Songbirds are also being tracked to understand depression and anxiety.
Psychiatric research has yet to find the cause or cure for any mental disorder, and none can be physically identified as existing in or caused by the brain.
The fact is all mental disorders contained in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) are decided by psychiatrists voting on what is or is not a mental disorder. Psychiatrist Allen Frances, chairman of the DSM-IV Task Force confirmed: “There are no objective tests in psychiatry-no X-ray, laboratory, or exam finding that says definitively that someone does or does not have a mental disorder….”
Thomas Insel, former director of NIMH, admitted: “Unlike our definitions of ischemic heart disease, lymphoma, or AIDS, the DSM diagnoses are based on a consensus about clusters of clinical symptoms, not any objective laboratory measure.”
After decades of studying insects, mammals, and fish in an attempt to understand human behavior, psychiatric research has shown itself to be an unmitigated failure in achieving the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of “mental disorders” or in providing non-harmful treatments and hope to those suffering, CCHR says.
 Moncrieff, J. et al, “The serotonin theory of depression: a systematic umbrella review of the evidence,” Molecular Psychiatry, July 20, 2022.
 Robert Lanza, MD, “Does The Soul Exist? Evidence Says ‘Yes’: New scientific theory recognizes life’s spiritual dimension,” Psychology Today, 21 Dec. 2011, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/biocentrism/201112/does-the-soul-exist-evidence-says-yes
Citizens Commission on Human Rights International
6616 Sunset Boulevard
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