Thursday, August 26, 2010

How to Use a Journal Article to Advertise Your Product

From this Month's JAMA (1) "Cognitive Behavioral Therapy vs Relaxation With Educational Support for Medication-Treated Adults With ADHD and Persistent Symptoms" by Safren et al.

In order to use an article to advertise your product, first you'll need to chose a topic about which people are fairly ignorant and make yourself an expert on it:

Approximately 4.4% of adults in the United States have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).”

Writing Style Recommendation: If you use the word “approximately,” which means “near or around,” then don’t use a number with a decimal. That’s too much precision. Just say “approximately 4% of adults.”

The lead author is Steven Safren, Ph.D., ABPP. In case you’re wondering, those initials mean people have to refer to him as “doctor” and believe that he actually knows what he is talking about. Although adult ADHD is rather amorphous, Safren et al. have extensively researched CBT with adult ADHD. This gives Safren et al. a posteriori authority on the topic.

Second, you'll need to concoct a reason why you're conducting research:

…Medications have been the primary treatment; however, many adults with ADHD cannot or will not take medications while others show a poor medication response. Furthermore, those considered responders to medications may continue to experience significant and impairing symptoms. Thus, there is a need for alternative and next step strategies.

Reader Advisory: Don’t be fooled by this “need.” It’s not a real need, it’s a constructed need (hey look at this huge hole in the ground I created! It needs to be filled!). These authors are using the construct of ADHD and the failure of medication (to treat an arbitrary construct) to accomplish their own goal.

You can read the results in the abstract here (1) as they are only of secondary importance.

Here is the real importance of this article: “Cognitive behavioral therapy was delivered consistent with our manuals.”

The authors of this article are also the authors of these two books (2, 3). This journal article will serve as a marketing device for these manuals.

It works like this: First, they will give “talks” touting the results of this research.

I am going to show you a bunch of statistics that have no real world relevance…

Second, they will conclude that pointless discussion with…

Our manual is available in the literature section located in the lobby.”

Unfortunately, those manuals don’t contain actual cognitive and behavioral material. Sure, they use the jargon, but it’s not actual CBT.

Writing Style Recommendation: Add words to mundane terms, thus making them appear more important than they actually are.

Sessions were designed specifically to meet the needs of ADHD patients and included things like starting and maintaining calendar and task list systems

Anybody can use a calendar or task list, but only “doctors” can provide instruction on how to use a calendar system or a task list system.

Here's a beauty...

The first module focused on psycho-education about ADHD…

What’s the difference between psycho-education and regular education you ask?

If you read an ADHD article on webMD, that’s “education.” When a psychologist prints out that webMD article and hands it to you, that’s “psycho-education.”

Study CBT protocol (i.e., the important one)

Study Relaxation protocol (i.e., the unimportant one)

Other cutting edge cognitive behavioral techniques include “setting priorities” and “breaking large tasks into manageable steps.” Oh snap!

I argue that this is not CBT but rather a collection of common sense solutions to everyday organizational needs. However, Safren et al. refer to this as a particular “type of cognitive behavioral therapy,” which was successfully documented to be useful “as a next-step strategy for patients with ADHD…”

So you better go buy those books!

Safren SA, Sprich S, Mimiaga MJ, Surman C, Knouse L, Groves M, & Otto MW (2010). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy vs Relaxation With Educational Support for Medication-Treated Adults With ADHD and Persistent Symptoms: A Randomized Controlled Trial. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association, 304 (8), 875-80 PMID: 20736471


.... said...

As far as I can tell, CBT IS just a collection of common sense solutions...

Dr John said...

I agree with Paul. Talking is not a technology. What bullshit

Unknown said...

Dude, have you given up blogging?

NeuroPsych said...


I'm still around. I've relocated to a different state, and I've been getting set up with a few research projects at a couple hospitals.

When my schedule is more predictable, I'll be able to write again.

jimrecht said...

Hope you're back blogging soon -- your writing is accurate and informative and super entertaining!

jimrecht said...

Hope it's not long before you're back blogging again. Your writing is smart, informative and entertaining. Thanks!