Sunday, 24.02.2019

Barry Blackwell’s review
Gregory de Moore and Ann Westmore: Finding Sanity: John Cade, Lithium and the Taming of Bipolar Disorder.

Barry Blackwell’s reply to Gregory De Moore’s commentary

This is more than a kind and generous commentary, although you do avoid what I believe are a few significant differences of opinion that linger on and are apparent in my lengthy review of the events so well presented in Finding Sanity and might (or might not) be clarified by further scrutiny. The ones I would be most interested in are Cade's blind spot with regards to the work of Trautman & Gershon - which would have allowed him to continue the use of lithium without reproach or the need to ban its use. Instead, it was his later awareness and appreciation for Schou's work that tipped the balance. Second is a deeper examination of his intellectual modus operandi and the mixed picture that emerges from his love affair with unproductive deductive reasoning on the one hand and the obsessive idee fixe that drove his relentless but serendipitous discovery of lithium. It is also paradoxical that we know this was, in reality, a re-discovery of earlier Scandanavian work of which, I assume, both Schou and he were aware but which he never acknowledged - or perhaps he did?

It was these matters that provoked my literary subconscious to invent the imaginary closing dialogue between the Goddess of Justice and the Father of Medicine. Perhaps it was unjust or unkind of me to engage is adjudicating mythical credit among the protagonists, but surely this is what history and your readers will seek to do?  Peace, and thank you for all you have so diligently, lovingly and generously contributed to understanding these enigmas.

May 18, 2017