MANUEL PAES DE SOUSA
By Antonio Palha
Manuel Paes de Sousa was born in December 1930, in Lisbon, Portugal. He was a brilliant clinician and an exceptionally good teacher with a solid knowledge in the neurosciences. Early in his career he was assistant professor in the Department of Histology at the University of Lisbon and worked under the supervision of Professor Barahona Fernandes. It was during those years that he became interested in the connection between behavior and the functioning of the brain.
In the 1960’s when the anti-psychiatry movement was at its height and mental disease such as schizophrenia was seen as a response to an unfair society, the result of stressful situations in the family and society, Dr. Paes de Sousa fought for the recognition of psychiatry as a medical discipline. This was especially important at the time he was Director of the Psychiatry and Mental Health Institute of the Ministry of Health in Portugal. The Institute was primarily involved in developing a primary health care system with responsibility for coordinating the activity of the Mental Health Centers of the country. He was instrumental for the integration of these centers with psychiatric units in general hospitals.
Dr. Paes de Sousa lectured and organized courses on several topics in Portugal and other countries. Some of the topics he covered are: “The Anatomy of Conscience (1971); “The Nerve Cell” (1972); "Neuropsychiatric aspects of pneumatology” (1976); “Pathogenesis of mental disorders in old age. Biological aspects of senescence” (1976).
Dr. Paes de Sousa was also an assistant of Prof. Fragoso Mendes, the Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Lisbon, a disciple of Prof. Mayer-Gross, and a pioneer in Portugal in psychopharmacology. After Professor Mendes died, he was his successor in the area of clinical psychopharmacological investigations. So, he became intensively involved in psychopharmacology at a national and international level. He founded with colleagues, the Portuguese Society of Biological Psychiatry, of which, at the time of his death, he was President. He had been also very much involved in Gerontopsychiatry and was instrumental in the founding of the Portuguese Society of Gerontopsychiatry. In collaboration with Prof. Barahona Fernandes he organized the first National Congress of Psychogeriatrics in Portugal, in the 1970s.
In addition to his professional activities, Dr. Paes de Sousa cultivated music, opera, and especially the cinema. His dedication to cinema was to the extent that he was president of the institutional jury of the Figueira da Foz Cinema Festival.
In public, Dr. Paes de Sousa fought for his views without creating conflicts. He was a man of action, who was able to mobilize those around him. He was always thinking, teaching, streamlining…….
Paes de Sousa died in February 2004.
Paes de Sousa M. My experience in psychopharmacology in Portugal. In: Ban TA, Healy D, Shorter E, editors: The Triumph of Psychopharmacology and the Story of CINP. Budapest: Animula; 2000, pp.208-10.
February 5, 2015