Janusz Rybakowski: Lithium Therapy, A Personal Tale of the Recent Decade 


Robert H. Belmaker’s comment



        This book is an inspiring testament to the continuing vitality of Janusz Rybakowski who 75 years old and, in this volume, collates reprints of the 86 publications on lithium that he has been the co-author or senior author of in the last decade alone. Janusz has been a central figure and chair of the Polish Psychiatric Association, a key figure in the development of the Department of Psychiatry in Poznan, western Poland, and a key figure in international lithium research for decades. His optimism and continued loyalty and friendliness comes through in this otherwise completely scientific book of a decade of reprints.

        The book is a physically handsome paperback and surprisingly readable. It is so readable perhaps because of the multitude of lithium related topics that it covers: everything from the personality of lithium responders to polymorphisms of GSK as a predictor of kidney injury with lithium, novel markers of kidney injury with lithium such as urinary beta 2 microglobulin, the effects of lithium on neurocognitive functioning, stem cells in the peripheral blood of bipolar patients and the clinical benefits of long-term lithium treatment. Janusz’s interest in literature and art, his sense of the importance of the history of lithium treatment and his deep emotional involvement in the future of lithium treatment - all come clearly through in what might be a dry scientific collection if edited by someone else.

        Lithium as a subject has clearly brought out all of Janusz’s wonderful personal qualities both treatment optimism, wide general medical knowledge, appreciation of art and history and loyalty to friends and colleagues. This book will occupy an important place on my shelf of lithium literature, a shelf which exists almost identically both in my home in Israel and Janusz’s home across the oceans in Poland.


February 3, 2022