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Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association - historical article about a psychiatrist and the consequences of her bad research

Discussion in 'Other health news and research' started by Kalliope, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. Kalliope

    Kalliope Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    This was an interesting read about a part of our history we don't much care to acknowledge.

    The article tells the story about the Norwegian psychiatrist Augusta Rasmussen (1895-1979).

    She studied children who had been sexually abused, and found that it had minor, if any, effect for most of them. This resulted in lack of care for children who had suffered from abuse. She also studied the intelligence of women who had been in relationships with German soldiers under WW2, and found nearly all of them "retarded". These women were treated awfully after the war, and their children as well.

    Augusta Rasmussen had no schooling in science, and the article suggests this imposed limits on the studies she undertook. In addition it says: "The absence of analysis demonstrated by leading psychiatrists when subsequently referring to her work seems extraordinary".

    The article concludes:
    It is thought-provoking that ‘scientific truths’ can persist for such a long period once they have the backing of professional authorities. They almost become urban legends. The same mechanism holds true today. Use of common sense and analysis of scientific methodology should make it possible to challenge ‘scientific truths’ before several decades have elapsed.

    Augusta Rasmussen’s gold medal-winning study from 1932 had drawn erroneous conclusions and had unfortunate consequences. It contributed to the notion that sexual abuse of children did not lead to harmful consequences. When we add to that the study of ‘German girls’ after the war, we may arrive at a negative assessment of her work.

    Can't help but draw a few parallels till modern times and how a few psychiatrists' persuasions about ME patients formed the (lack of) care and treatments to an entire patient group; based on personal opinions and bad science.
    Thought there might be some other members of this forum who'd like to read it as well. It is not long.

    Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association: Augusta Rasmussen - psychiatrist, pioneer and the scientific truths of the time (by Erlend Hem and Per E. Børdahl)
    Atle, TiredSam, Hutan and 15 others like this.

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