A Major Controversy About Depression—and Other Notes from the Week - Verily

A Major Controversy About Depression—and Other Notes from the Week

Catch up on all the news you might have missed with our handy summary of the week’s top stories.
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We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.

The Golden Globes Was a Feisty Affair

On Sunday night Hollywood gathered for the first major awards show of 2018—and things felt very different from years past. The night was primed for big moments as the #TimesUp movement requested all women attending wear black to support a mission for gender parity and respect for women in all fields. And the women sure did show out. Dresses aside, the night was filled with moments of hope and jabs against sexism in equal measure. Jessica-Lynne DuBois-Maahs recapped the big moments for Verily; among them Natalie Portman, who while presenting the award for best director, pointedly remarked, “Here are the all-male nominees.” And Oprah, accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award, who said, “I want all the girls watching to know a new day is on the horizon.” Virtually every woman who spoke (and many men, too) commented on the sexual assault reckoning that has ravaged their industry, but it remains unclear exactly what they plan to do about it. Despite all the anticipation of the evening, the show’s ratings were down 5 percent from last year. —Megan Madden

5 Women Have Spoken Out Against James Franco

Speaking of the Golden Globes, James Franco left a winner (for his role in The Disaster Artist). His success was short-lived, however, because women quickly reacted to him wearing a #TimesUp pin on his lapel by alleging Franco is a sexual assailant himself. Five women, four of whom were students of Franco’s and one who counts him as a former mentor, have come out to say Franco acted sexually inappropriate toward them. They say he has been inappropriate on movie sets and made them feel obligated to do sexual acts they were uncomfortable with, and one told the Los Angeles Times that Franco became angry at women for refusing to go topless.

Franco commented on the allegations Tuesday night on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, saying, “. . . The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate. But I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn’t have a voice for so long. So I don’t want to shut them down in any way.” So far at least one event has been canceled with the company citing the allegations against Franco as the reason for dismissal. —Megan Madden

Serena Williams’ Baby Becomes Youngest-Ever ‘Vogue’ Cover Subject, as Williams Shares Harrowing Childbirth Story

Three-month-old baby Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. can now check off “front cover of Vogue” as one of her life goals. Her adorable face graces the cover of Vogue’s February issue, along with her famous mother, Serena Williams, aka the world’s greatest tennis player. The cover story details Williams’ happiness as a new mom and a wife plus her ambitions as a tennis champion—but also as a woman fighting for her life during childbirth complications (including a life-threatening blood clot and later, hemorrhaging) and medical staff that didn’t take her pain seriously.

Her recovery was intense, as she spent the first six weeks of motherhood unable to get out of bed. As she tells Vogue, it tested her emotionally and physically in ways she never expected. “No one talks about the low moments—the pressure you feel, the incredible letdown every time you hear the baby cry. I’ve broken down I don’t know how many times. . . . Why do I feel so sad when I have a beautiful baby? The emotions are insane.”

While Williams’ story continues on an optimistic note—she’s thrilled for her daughter—she reminds us all of the incredible sacrifices of motherhood and the strength it takes to bring new life into the world. “Maybe having a baby on the tennis tour is the most rebellious thing I could ever do,” she adds. —Maria Walley

Pink Confirmed for the Super Bowl Show

Big news for those of us eagerly anticipating Super Bowl LII—or just the food and the star-studded entertainment (guilty!): NFL and NBC announced Monday that “What About Us” singer Pink will be performing the National Anthem to kick off the game. Actor and director Alexandria Wailes will perform in American Sign Language alongside Pink. And who is doing the halftime show? You might be wondering. Justin Timberlake had fun breaking the news in a silly video with Jimmy Fallon. —Monica Gabriel Marshall

Major Turmoil Brewing About Depression Myths 

The truth about antidepressants might be far more complicated than you’ve ever realized. Or at least that’s what journalist Johann Hari’s latest book Lost Connections is claiming, as it stirs up some serious controversy—both in and out of the medical field. Critics believe that Hari, who took antidepressants for thirteen years, gravely oversimplifies the matter as he condemns antidepressants as useless. His critics further claim that this may greatly exasperate the unfortunate stigma of taking antidepressants, putting an innumerable amount of vulnerable people with serious mental health issues at risk.

In his book (you can read an excerpt in The Guardian here), Hari reintroduces the scientific argument that depression is a mere hormonal imbalance—and argues that perpetuating this belief is as harmful as it is misleading. Moreover, he claims that depression stems from lifestyle and genetic factors and explores how there might be underlying biological factors causing the issues as well.

Criticism aside, it’s worth noting that depression is an issue that’s as complex as the human brain, and there’s so much that science has yet to learn about this misunderstood yet universal concern. We are happy that depression, its causes, and its treatments have become a point of discussion and, hopefully, further exploration. —MW

Alcohol-Related ER Visits Way Up for Women

According to new research, there has been a 61 percent increase in emergency room visits related to alcohol abuse between 2006 and 2014—especially among women. We know that binge drinking among women is on the rise as well, but it’s sobering to discover that researchers are seeing an even greater increase of ER visits related to chronic alcohol abuse (things such as pancreatitis, cirrhosis, withdrawal) among women. With the proliferation of “Wino Wednesday” and “Tipsy Tuesday,” drinking culture has become normalized for women in need of some relaxation. It may surprise you to learn that binge drinking is considered having four drinks on one occasion, and high-risk drinking is considered binge drinking at least once per week. But as we explain in a Verily article, confusion around portion sizes could also be part of the problem. A standard glass of wine is technically 5 fluid ounces, but depending on the size of your glass, one glass of wine may actually have 6 to 7 fluid ounces in it. So you see, just one glass of wine could actually be a glass and a half; if the night continues with even just one more drink, you may be on your way to an unintentional drinking binge. —MGM