Public Event "Lithium: toxic placebo or magic ion?

Professor Allan Young will present at the The John and Betty Lynch Fellowship Lecture Program

Lithium was reintroduced to medicine following John Cade’s seminal paper in 1949 and the pioneering work of Mogens Schou.  Lithium faced early scepticism from the Maudsley Hospital and these views persisted till quite recently.  Lithium is now universally agreed to have robust evidence underpinning its clinical use in mood disorders, both bipolar and unipolar. Lithium treatment is also associated with a reduced rate of death by suicide in mood disorder.  An intriguing literature has burgeoned in recent years which suggests positive health benefits from increased levels of lithium in the drinking water.  Although these are trace level compared to therapeutic doses they do seem to impact health.  A major challenge is to identify which patients will benefit from lithium.

The lecture will end with a discussion of approaches to evaluating biomarkers of lithium response.