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Lithium: Proving Its Mettle for 50 Years

M. J. Friedrich
JAMA. 1999;281(24):2271-2273. doi:10.1001/jama.281.24.2271.
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Lexington, Ky—In 1949, Australian psychiatrist John Cade published a paper detailing the value of using lithium salts to treat acute mania. Half a century later, lithium is still used in the treatment of mood disorders, particularly bipolar illness, and ongoing research is providing evidence for other benefits of the drug, including an antisuicidal effect. To celebrate 50 years of lithium's medical usefulness, more than 300 medical professionals gathered here to discuss their lithium research.

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Claims for the healthful benefits of lithium fueled the market for products such as Lithia Beer, brewed at West Bend, Wis. (Photo Credit: Used by permission of James W. Jefferson, MD)

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A popular drink at the turn of the last century, Bear Lithia Water was bottled from springs allegedly high in lithium content. (Credit: Permission of James W. Jefferson, MD)

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