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Monday, 01.03.2021

Mogens Schou: My journey with lithium
Leonardo Tondo’s comment


        Mogens Schou’s autobiography, reported by Johan Schioldann, provides in a short essay a great deal of information about personal details of Schou’s life. It also reports a condensed history of the development of lithium as a prophylactic agent in manic-depressive illness and bipolar and unipolar disorders.

          In this regard, it is relevant how the prophylactic effect of lithium is also underscored in patients with recurrent depressive episodes, a topic which should be examined and evaluated more closely. Moreover, the account of the development of the double-blind study confirming the efficacy of prophylactic lithiumis particularly interesting. Of note is the reported lack of comment on the trial by Drs. Barry Blackwell and Michael Shepherd who instead criticized the previous open study and asked for a controlled study.

          I found it touching that Drs. Christian Baastrup and Schou had more than one reservation about the double-blind study considering that it would have exposed their patients to lithium discontinuation. This ethical concern is not seen often among clinical researchers who seem more interested in findings to be published than patients’ life. Mogens Schou emerges from this brief autobiography as a dedicated scientist and clinician primarily interested in the treatment of such a difficult and life-threatening illness that also heavily hit his family.


February 7, 2019