In a relatively brief, inviting Preface, Tom Ban recounts the history of research in European psychopathology during the 20th century. He details the contributions o f many of its leading figures and covers ground unfamiliar to many American psychiatrists. These early workers arrive at different formulations of depression, different diagnostic systems and different treatments. Of specific interest is the development of “phenomenologic psychopathology” referencing the roles of Karl Jaspers and Kurt Schneider, noting that they reopened the science in a more enlightened context. The new antidepressants have clearly shaken the approaches to treatment. Such earlier theoretical concepts have been set aside as clinicians adopt a more practical trial and error approach with the new drugs and show less concern for lessons in this historical sphere. Ban is more at home in that context because the approach which relies less on ideas about etiology, provides the foundation for the methodology he will use in the book to “deconstruct major depression, (to) open the path in the study of the biology and genetics of the different depressive subtypes” In so doing he hopes to achieve a “personalized medicine” capable of individualizing the treatment approach for each depressed patient. Ban’s approach will attempt to provide psychiatrists with a new context within which to work. One can look forward to a more complete blueprint for this strategy in the text that follows.
Martin M. Katz
July 25, 2013
I am thankful to Dr. Miklya that instead of going into the details that selegiline [ (-)-deprenyl] became world-wide known and is still generally viewed and recorded as the first selective inhibitor of B-type monoamine oxidase (MAO), she pointed to the importance of the catecholaminergic activity enhancer (CAE) effect of (-)-deprenyl which determined future research. Her comment brings together how (-)-deprenyl, a b-phenylethylamine (PEA)-derivative, a selective CAE substance allowed to discover that PEA is primarily a natural CAE substance, and how the discovery of enhancer regulation led to the development of R-(-) – 1 – (benzofuran – 2 –yl) – 2 - propylaminopentane [(-)-BPAP], the presently known most potent and selective enhancer of catecholaminergic and serotonergic neurons. Since experimental and clinical studies strongly support the expectation that preventive (-)-deprenyl medication improves the quality and prolongs the duration of life and could prevent or delay the onset of aging-related neurodegenerative diseases, like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, it is unfortunate that the implementation of a proper trial on healthy volunteers to measure the anti-aging effect of Selegiline has still not been undertaken. I am pleased that Dr. Miklya took notice of my statement that to motivate clinicians to think this matter over, inspired my work.
November 7, 20013
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