Thomas A. Ban and Carlos Morra


           Neuropsychopharmacology studies the relationship between neuronal and mental events with the use of psychotropic drugs (Ban and Ucha Udabe 2006). 

           Instrumental to the development of Neuropsychopharmacology was the introduction of effective pharmacological treatments for mental illness, the demonstration of monoamine neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine (NE), serotonin  (5HT) in the brain,  the recognition of chemical mediation at the site of the synapse and the construction of the spectrophotofluorometer, an instrument with a resolution power to detect and measure drug-induced changes  (Ban 2001). With the employment of the new instrument in the mid-1950s, Alfred Pletscher, in collaboration with Parkhurst Shore and Bernard (Steve) Brodie, found a decrease in brain 5HT levels in the brain after the administration of reserpine, a substance that was seen to induce depression in some hypertensive patients in the course treatment, and an increase in brain 5HT levels after the administration of iproniazid, a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) that was seen to induce euphoria in some tubercular patients (Freis 1954; Plerscher 1956; Pletscher, Shore and Brodie 1955, 1956; Selikoff, Robitzek and Orenstein 1952).

           Research in neuropsychopharmacology is based on the assumption that one might deduce the biochemical and physiological basis of mental disorders from the mode of action of drugs with “known therapeutic effects.”  The idea was that the information on the biology of disease would guide the development of rational pharmacological treatments (Hollister 1996; Wikler 1957).

           During its first epoch (1960 – 2010) of neuropsychopharmacology, the “neurotransmitter era,” research in neuropsychopharmacology was driven by advances in the methodology for tracking the action of psychotropic drugs on the neurotransmitter balance in the brain. The rate limiting step has been the difficulty in identifying pharmacologically homogenous clinical populations.

           The International Network for the History of Neuropsychopharmacology (INHN) was founded in 2012 by some of the editors of two series on the history of the field,  one published by the Collegium Internationale Neuro-Psychopharmacologicum (CINP) and the other by the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) (Ban 2011a,b; Ban, Healy and Shorter 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004). The objective of INHN is to facilitate progress in neuropsychopharmacological research by providing a platform for communication (interaction) between neuropsychopharmacologists of different generations and professional background.

           In May 2013 the Network became active with Tom Ban at the helm, supported by Barry Blackwell, Sam Gershon, Peter R. Martin and Gregers Wegener, by opening  its website and posting educational material on it for discussion (exchange) and in 2015 the Network extended its activities  by developing its first educational  programs. With the launching of INHN Publisher, supported by the Morra Foundation, in January 2020 INHN enters into a new phase of its development in which the electronic information on its website posted under 12 headings (projects) will be rendered accessible also in print. The 12 projects are:  1. Historical dictionary of neuropsychopharmacology; 2. Historical drug inventory of psychotropic drugs; 3. Photo history of neuropsychopharmacology; 4. Profiles of distinguished neuropsychopharmacologists; 5. Controversies in the history of neuropsychopharmacology; 6. Textbook on the history of neuropsychopharmacology; 7. Discoveries in neuropsychopharmacology that have not been followed up and experiments that could not be replicated; 8. Information on books in neuropsychopharmacology: classic and current; 9. Biographies, autobiographies and selected writings of neuropsychopharmacologists; 10. Historical perspective in  neuropsychopharmacology: information from and comments on current publications; 11. Electronic archives in neuropsychopharmacology; and 12. Educational E-Books in neuropsychopharmacology. .

           Our plan is that INHN Publisher will print and distribute a minimum of five books annually which will include: 1. All postings presented on the website in a  year; 2. Selected postings from  a contributor to the website over the years; 3. A  monograph, Peter   presented on the website in installments by its author; 4. A historical document in the field of neuropsychopharmacology discussed on website;  and 5. A selection of postings from the website in which  contributions in a particular area of activity in neuropsychopharmacology are presented in historical perspective.

            Accordingly, the first five books to be presented by INHN publisher will be:

1.      Peter R. Martin, editor: Thomas A. Ban, Barry Blackwell, Samuel Gershon, Peter R. Martin and Gregers Wegener: INHN 2013

2.      Barry Blackwell: Treating the Brain: An Odyssey         

3.      Joseph Knoll: Enhancer Sensitive Brain Regulation and Synthetic Enhancers (Selegiline and  BPAP) that Counteract the Regressive Effect of Brain Aging

4.      Carlos Morra, editor: Lehmann and Ban ECDEU Progress Report 1961-1963

5.      Thomas A. Ban, editor: Lithium in Psychiatry in Historical Perspective


INHN Publisher is directed by Carlos Morra. and operates with an International Advisory Board, chaired by Tom Ban.



Ban TA. Pharmacotherapy of mental illness. A historical analysis. In: Ban TA and Ucha Udabe R, editors. The Neurotransmitter Era in Neuropsychopharmacology. Buenos Aires: Editorial Polemos; 2006, p.65-74.

Ban TA.  Preface. In Gershon S, editor. Neuropsychopharmacology. In: Ban TA, series editor. An Oral History of Neuropsychopharmacology The First Fifty Years Peer Interviews. Neuropsychopharmacology. Volume 5. Brentwood: American College of Neuropsychopharmacology; 2011a, pp.  ix - xxxix.

Ban TA, series editor. An Oral History of Neuropsychopharmacology The First Fifty Years Peer Interviews. Brentwood: American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. Brentwood: American College of Neuropsychopharmacology; 2011b.

Ban TA, Healy D, Shorter E, editors. The Rise of Psychopharmacology and the Story of CINP. Budapest: Animula; 1998.

Ban TA, Healy D, Shorter E, editors. From Psychopharmacology to Neuropsychopharmacology and the Story of CINP. Budapest: Animula; 2002.

Ban TA, Healy D, Shorter E, editors. Reflections on Twentieth Century Psychopharmacology. Budapest: Animula; 2002.

Ban TA, Ucha Udabe R. The neurotransmitter era in neuropsychopharmacology. In: Ban TA, Ucha Udabe R, editors. The Neurotransmitter Era in Neuropsychopharmacology. Buenos Aires:  Editorial Polemos; 2006. p. 265-74.

Freis ED. Mental depression in hypertensive patients treated for long period with large doses of reserpine.  New England Journal of Medicine 1954; 251:1006-8.  

Hollister LE. Review of Wikler’s The Relation of Psychiatry to Pharmacology. In: Ban TA, Ray OS, editors. A History of the CINP. Brentwood; JM Productions; 1996, p. 339-43.

Pletscher A. Beeinflussung des 5-hydroxytryptamine–stoffwechsels. In Gehirn durch isonikotinsäuerehydrazide. Experientia 1956; 12:479- 80.

Pletscher A, Shore PA, Brodie BB. Serotonin release as a possible mechanism of reserpine psychosis. Science 1955; 122:574-5.

Pletscher A, Shore PA, Brodie BB. Serotonin as a modulator of reserpine action in brain. J Pharmacol Exper Ther 1956; 116:84-9.

Selikoff IJ, Robitzek EH, Orenstein GG. Treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis with hydrazine derivatives of isonicotinic acid. JAMA 1952; 150:973-87.

Wikler A. The Relation of Psychiatry to Pharmacology. Baltimore: American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics and the Williams & Wilkins Company; 1957.


December 5, 2019