The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 42.0°F | Fair
Article Tools

Drugs May Aid Only Severe Depression, Study Says

Some widely prescribed drugs for depression provide relief in extreme cases but are no more effective than placebo pills for most patients, according to a new analysis.

The findings could help settle a longstanding debate about antidepressants. While the study does not imply that the drugs are worthless for anyone with moderate to serious depression — many such people do seem to benefit — it does provide one likely explanation for the sharp disagreement among experts about the drugs’ overall effectiveness.

Taken together, previous studies have painted a confusing picture. On one hand, industry-supported trials have generally found that the drugs sharply reduce symptoms. On the other, many studies that were not initially published, or were buried, showed no significant benefits compared with placebos.

The new report, appearing in The Journal of the American Medical Association, reviews data from previous trials on two types of drugs and finds that their effectiveness varies according to the severity of the depression being treated.

Asia Gains Tech Edge by Backing Silicon Valley Start-Ups

For years, the process remained relatively static: PC makers like Hewlett-Packard and Apple, with well-staffed research labs and design departments, would dream up their next product and then hire a Chinese or Taiwanese fabricator to manufacture the largest number of units at the lowest possible cost.

But lately, this traditional division of labor has been upended. Many of those Asian companies have moved well beyond manufacturing to seize greater control over the look and feel of tomorrow’s personal computers, smartphones and even Web sites.

The investment arms of large Taiwanese and Chinese manufacturers have created an investment network in Silicon Valley operating under the radar that pumps money into a variety of chip, software and services companies to gain the latest technology. As a result, some Asian manufacturers have proved more willing than entrenched Silicon Valley venture capitalists to back some risky endeavors.

As Population Shifts in Harlem, Blacks Lose Their Majority

For nearly a century, Harlem has been synonymous with black urban America. Given its magnetic and growing appeal to younger black professionals and its historic residential enclaves and cultural institutions, the neighborhood’s reputation as the capital of black America seems unlikely to change soon.

But the neighborhood is in the midst of a profound and accelerating shift. In greater Harlem, which runs river to river, and from East 96th Street and West 106th Street to West 155th Street, blacks are no longer a majority of the population — a shift that actually occurred a decade ago, but was largely overlooked.

By 2008, their share had declined to 4 in 10 residents. Since 2000, central Harlem’s population has grown more than in any other decade since the 1940s, to 126,000 from 109,000, but its black population — about 77,000 in central Harlem and about twice that in greater Harlem — is smaller than at any time since the 1920s.

In 2008, 22 percent of the white households in Harlem had moved to their present homes within the previous year. By comparison, only 7 percent of the black households had.