Author(s): Greg De Moore
In 1948, there was no medication for bipolar illness. Sufferers from the illness would live their lives - if they survived - in and out of asylums accumulating life's wreckage around them. But late in 1948 that changed, when an Australian doctor, John Cade, discovered a treatment that has become the gold standard for bipolar illness - lithium...John Cade changed the course of medicine with his discovery of lithium; yet today most doctors have never heard of his name. His discovery has stopped more people from committing suicide than a thousand 'help' lines, yet few counsellors know of him. And it has saved hundreds of billions of dollars in health care costs - enough to rival a nation's economy - but you can bet that no politician has the slightest idea of who John Cade was...Lithium is the penicillin story of mental health; the first effective medication discovered for the treatment of a mental illness; and it is, without doubt, Australia's greatest mental health story.
Greg de Moore is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry based at Sydney's Westmead Hospital. Born in Melbourne of parents who migrated to Australia from Sri Lanka, Greg has lived in Sydney for over 20 years. Outside of the hospital he has combined his medical interests with Australian history to write and co-write two previous books - Tom Wills and A National Game. The biography of Tom Wills was based on ten years of research unearthing original medical records, letters, text books and notes previously believed to have been lost or destroyed. This book was short-listed for and won numerous awards, including the National Biography Award. Greg has also written on the need to preserve psychiatric records as a precious storehouse of clinical and social history...Ann Westmore is an Honorary Fellow in the Centre for Health and Society, School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne. She came to the history of medicine and science through a degree in science and a previous career as a medical writer for a mass circulation newspaper. After completing a Master of Science in the history and philosophy of science, Ann completed a PhD titled 'Mind, Mania and Science: Psychiatry and the Culture of Experiment in Mid-Twentieth Century Victoria'. Her thesis gave rise to work with Museum Victoria and the University of Melbourne investigating nineteenth and twentieth century mental health care in Australia...