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Raj Persaud in conversation - the podcasts


Jul 3, 2019

Prior to the Second World War mental illness was largely untreatable, but all that changed when an Australian doctor and recently returned prisoner of war, John Cade, made the monumental discovery that lithium could serve as an effective treatment for manic depression, now bipolar disorder. In this podcast, Dr Raj Persaud interviews Professor Greg de Moore about the life and work of John Cade, discussing his remarkable – but often overlooked – contribution to the history of mental health treatment.

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Finding Sanity

John Cade, lithium and the taming of bipolar disorder

Greg de Moore and Ann Westmore
 

The first biography of the ground breaking Australian doctor who discovered the first pharmacological treatment for mental illness.

For most of human history, mental illness has been largely untreatable. Sufferers lived their lives - if they survived - in and out of asylums, accumulating life's wreckage around them.

In 1948, all that changed when an Australian doctor and recently returned prisoner of war, working alone in a disused kitchen, set about an experimental treatment for one of the scourges of mankind - manic depression, or bipolar disorder. That doctor was John Cade and in that small kitchen he stirred up a miracle.

John Cade discovered a treatment that has become the gold standard for bipolar disorder - lithium. It has stopped more people from committing suicide than a thousand help lines.

Lithium is the penicillin story of mental health - the first effective medication discovered for the treatment of a mental illness - and it is, without doubt, Australia's greatest mental health story.