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Extraordinary Science and PsychiatryResponses to the Crisis in Mental Health Research$
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Jeffrey Poland and Serife Tekin

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262035484

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262035484.001.0001

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Evidence-Based Medicine, Biological Psychiatry, and the Role of Science in Medicine

Evidence-Based Medicine, Biological Psychiatry, and the Role of Science in Medicine

Chapter:
(p.37) 3 Evidence-Based Medicine, Biological Psychiatry, and the Role of Science in Medicine
Source:
Extraordinary Science and Psychiatry
Author(s):

Robyn Bluhm

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262035484.003.0003

Both evidence-based medicine (EBM) and biological psychiatry aim to improve clinical practice by basing it more firmly on the results of scientific research. In this chapter, however, I show that the two approaches have very different views on what kinds of research will improve practice. This is because EBM is a form of medical empiricism – it focuses solely on whether treatments work, while biological psychiatry is a form of medical rationalism – it seeks to understand the causes that give rise to observed clinical outcomes. I argue that EBM’s empiricism is ultimately shortsighted and that it should integrate some of the rationalist concerns with pathophysiology. I then use this analysis to draw some lessons for research based on the NIMH’s new Research Domain Criteria.

Keywords:   evidence-based medicine, biological psychiatry, RDoC, major depression, posttraumatic stress disorder

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