Samuel Gershon: Lithium history
Samuel Gershon’s overall comments
I have now had the pleasure of re-reading all the comments on my essay. Each has provided an important , interesting and careful view of the story. In addition, we must remember to include the extensive material contributed in Schioldann’s encyclopedic book, History of the Introduction of Lithium into Medicine and Psychiatry. All of the above materials contribute significantly to providing the essential data to understand the story and its complications, yet there are varying interpretations of the discovery. Subsequently, much additional research has been presented to enable this PHARMAKON to become a safe and established treatment for manic depressive disorders.
Part of the discussion centers around the question as to whether this was a basic, scientifically developed finding or serendipity or an accident. I have watched this story unfold close up since I was a resident in Psychiatry in 1952 and then during my time on the faculty at the University of Melbourne and have stuck close to the story as of this communication.
After all this time, some of the debates and questions have continued.
October 31, 2019