Comment (Barry Blackwell)

I have read Tom Ban's brief e-book on the early evolution of neuroscience and, as always, am amazed by the breadth and depth of its erudition. The historical dissection of the evolution of psychiatry is masterful, reminding the reader (painfully?) of how much we have forgotten (or never knew) and how relevant that is to today's dead end in new drug development for specific disorders.

 I particularly liked the way it summarized each step along the way with clear, succinct statements listed in bold type. Secondly this is such a precise, compact and brief history of our antecedents and steps leading up to the contemporary impasse it should be mandatory introductory material for every person entering the mental health field at the graduate level - whether psychiatry, psychology or neuroscience. I do differ on the place of lithium which is not listed among the early synthetic compounds found serendipitously to treat mental disorders -  Cade's early clinical work was historically the first to scientifically establish the efficacy of a specific pharmacologic agent in the treatment of a specific psychiatric disorder (Mania). But this is a minor caveat in an impressive historical accomplishment perhaps worthy of future debate.

Barry Blackwell
January 2, 2014


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