Editorial: Variety in Mental Health Research
Greenberg, David, The Israel Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences
"Variety's the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavour." William Cowper (1731-1800)
Readers of the IJP are accustomed to issues being devoted to a specific topic. This issue, however, is characterized by the absence of a theme, or, to give it a positive reframing, it is devoted to variety in mental health research.
Variety in research may be expressed in many forms. The settings of the studies in this issue are diverse, ranging from a therapeutic nursery in Petach Tikva, to an outpatient department in Sanliurfa, Turkey, the admission wards of Beer Yaakov hospital, the National Psychiatric case Register of the Ministry of Health, and prisons and military call-up offices in Russia. The sizes of the samples studied also vary enormously: Ponizovsky et al. examine the diagnostic consistency of 10,000 first psychiatric admissions, Rosca et al. follow up 2,150 patients admitted for the first time over the next decade, while Kandel Katzenelson et al. discuss the lives and hospitalizations of two married patients with psychosis, Lerner et al. present two cases and Ellencweig et al. describe just one. The topics that attract researchers are equally diverse: for over two decades, the late Shmuel Maizel studied mothers with psychosis who were hospitalized with their babies, while Alexander Borochov was drawing and classifying the tattoos of over 1,400 people in Russia.
For those bewildered by tables of numbers, three of the eleven papers are case studies. The rewards for taking a careful history are apparent in Ellencweig's single case. A 10-year history of hypertension and a history of a course of sulphonamides a week earlier, in a 33-year-old admitted with an acute psychosis, lead to a possible diagnosis of a purely psychiatric presentation of acute intermittent porphyria without abdominal pain. Lerner et al. describe two cases of Internet delusions (readers of Hebrew will enjoy the play on words in the title of the Hebrew abstract). An interesting development in the ethics of publishing case studies appears in the acknowledgements of Kandel Katzenelson et al., as both patients read the account that was to be published and signed their agreement to its publication.
For this publication, Kandel Katzenelson et al. called their two married patients Abraham and Sara, borrowing the names of the parents of the Jewish nation. …