LMU professor addresses science, marketing of mood-enhancing medications

The proof is in the statistics. According to a 2005 Centers for Disease Control study, antidepressants were the most commonly prescribed drug in the country. The use of antidepressants and other psychotropic drugs—those that affect brain chemistry—has skyrocketed over the last decade.

The question is, are we overmedicating in our pursuit of happiness?

Jonathan Leo discusses the use and abuse of antidepressants in an Oct. 12 presentation at Pellissippi State Community College. Leo is assistant dean of students and a neuroanatomy professor at Lincoln Memorial University–DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine in Harrogate.

He will speak on “Serotonin and Mental Health: The History, the Science and the Marketing” at 12:25 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium, on the Pellissippi Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The community is invited to the free event.

Leo, who earned a doctoral degree in anatomy from the University of Iowa, has published extensively on the science and marketing of psychiatric medications. His work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Science, Nature, The Economist and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The Oct. 12 presentation centers on problems surrounding the serotonin theory of depression, the disconnect between the antidepressant clinical trial literature and the marketing, and the increasing use of antidepressant medications for younger and younger children.

The lecture is part of Pellissippi State’s 2010-2011 Common Academic Experience, which revolves a Common Book read by select students. This year’s book choice is “The Geography of Bliss” by Eric Weiner. In “Bliss,” the bestselling author shares the highlights of his trip around the world to find the happiest countries. He spoke to Pellissippi State students Sept. 8.

For more information on Leo’s presentation, contact Toni McDaniel, Pellissippi State professor of Liberal Arts, at 865-694-6697.

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