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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 22 (2017) pp 92-99

John Cade (1912–1980): The Use of Lithium Carbonate in Psychiatry

George B. Kauffman*

Department of Chemistry, California State University, Fresno, Fresno, CA 93740-8034,

Published: 31 May 2017

Abstract. About ten percent of the U.S. population who suffer from major depressive disorder (“the lows) or manic-depression (bipolar disorder), have benefited from treatment with lithium carbonate colloquially called “lithium by both psychiatrists and the public in general. For many years the only treatment for mania was sedation, which could result in serious side effects. However, treatment with lithium, introduced into psychiatry 68 years ago, safely aborts the manic condition. Lithium’s antimanic effect was first reported in the September 3, 1949 issue of the Medical Journal of Australia by John Frederick Joseph Cade, M.D. (1912-1980), Senior Medical Officer in the Victoria Department of Mental Hygiene. He worked single-handedly in a poorly equipped laboratory attached to a hospital for chronic mentally ill patients.

Key Words: Chemistry and History; Biography; History of Science; Pharmaceutical Chemistry; Pharmaceutical Research; Enzymes; Drugs and Treatments; Psychiatry; Psychopharmacology; Dementia; Alzheimer’s Disease; Biochemistry; Memory; Medical Research; Clinical Research; Microscopy; Histology; Social Implications of Disease; Journals; Associations

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

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