John Cade (18 January 1912 – 16 November 1980) was an Australian Psychiatrist credited with initiating the use of Lithium for mania.
There is some controversy over the narrative of Lithium use in Psychiatry. We have seen previously that Garrod conjectured a hypothesis about a uric acid diathesis in the nineteenth century leading to the widespread use of Lithium albeit at low doses. There are at least three other figures – the Lange brothers in Denmark and William Hammond in the United States who figure in the history of Lithium as a treatment for mental illness.
However Cade is credited with initiating Lithium specifically for mania. Cade studied medicine in Melbourne and was later stationed in Singapore, when he became a prisoner of war. After this, he returned to Melbourne and undertook research on the biological effects of the urine of people with mental illness (he hypothesised that toxins in the urine were linked to mental illness). He utilised Lithium Urate as a soluble compound in place of Uric Acid. He noted that there was a sedative effect and he then explored this. Cade’s landmark paper was published in 1949 (Cade, 1949).
Cade’s contributions to Psychiatry were not limited to Lithium. He was also involved in a number of service developments and was also President of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.
Cade JF: Lithium salts in the treatment of psychotic excitement. Med J Aust 1949; 36:349–352
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