Antidepressant drugs don’t work – official study

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Six capsules of Prozac

They are among the biggest-selling drugs of all time, the “happiness pills” that supposedly lift the moods of those who suffer depression and are taken by millions of people in the UK every year. But one of the largest studies of modern antidepressant drugs has found that they have no clinically significant effect. In other words, they don’t work.

The finding will send shock waves through the medical profession and patients and raises serious questions about the regulation of the multinational pharmaceutical industry, which was accused yesterday of withholding data on the drugs.

It also came as Alan Johnson, the Health Secretary, announced that 3,600 therapists are to be trained during the next three years to provide nationwide access through the GP service to “talking treatments” for depression, instead of drugs, in a £170m scheme. The popularity of the new generation of antidepressants, which include the best known brands Prozac and Seroxat, soared after they were launched in the late 1980s, heavily promoted by drug companies as safer and leading to fewer side-effects than the older tricyclic antidepressants.

The publication in 1994 of Listening to Prozac by Peter Kramer, in which he suggested anyone with too little “joy juice” might give themselves a dose of the “mood brightener” Prozac , lifted sales into the stratosphere.

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Top-secret Livermore anti-germ lab opens

A high-security laboratory where deadly microbes are being grown by scientists seeking defenses against terrorist attacks began operating in Livermore last week without public announcement, and opponents said Friday that they will go to federal court in an effort to close the facility down.

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Hungary to start the world’s first wild seed bank

The world’s first gene bank for wild plants is to be established in Hungary, reports geographic.hu, the online version of National Geographic magazine’s Hungarian edition. The collection would be stored at the Institute of Agrobotany in Tápiószele, Pest County, and store the genes of 85,000 types of cultivated plants, making it Europe’s fifth largest agrobotany gene bank.
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Colchicum hungaricum (Magyar kikerics), one of Hungary’s protected plant species that lives only on the highest hill in the Villány Hills, the Szársomlyó, in Baranya County.

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‘Doomsday’ seed vault opens in Arctic

Frozen ‘Garden of Eden’ secures biological diversity for future generations

LONGYEARBYEN, Norway – A “doomsday” seed vault built to protect millions of food crops from climate change, wars and natural disasters opened Tuesday deep within an Arctic mountain in the remote Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard.

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Warming could trigger insect food frenzy

Global warming could bring about a veritable insect explosion, if past performance is an indication of future gains.

Just such a buggy invasion swarmed parts of the northern United States during an abrupt global warming event more than 50 million years ago, a new study of leaf fossils shows.

The study’s findings, detailed in the Feb. 11 issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, indicate that the same thing could happen during our current period of warming.

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This fossilized leaf shows where insects ate away at the plant some 50 million years ago during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum.

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