April 5, 1965

Specific Value of Drugs in Psychiatric Illness

Author Affiliations

Palo Alto, Calif

Galveston, Tex

JAMA. 1965;192(1):65. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080140071032

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To the Editor:—  A printed sign used to appear in some restaurants, "If you like our meals, tell others; if you don't, tell us." The reverse seems true for clinical studies in psychopharmacology, for without exception, communications made directly to us have praised the work criticized above.Dr. Decker questions the crosssectional approach to evaluation as opposed to a "longitudinal evaluation." Unfortunately, the latter is seldom available, and what data there are frequently represent as much the inferences of the psychiatrist as the symptoms of the patient. He also questions diagnosis, but we thought that we had covered that in the paper; our clinical diagnoses agreed rather well with the computer classification of the rating scale profiles, and we'd be willing to bet that what we called depressed and schizophrenic patients are as close to the common understanding of these terms as it is humanly possible to achieve. Finally, he

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