THE RECIPIENTS of the 1987 Albert Lasker Medical Research Awards have forged new eras in two fields of medicine—psychiatry and immunology.
Mogens Schou, MD, has been accorded the clinical medical research award for demonstrating that lithium is effective against bipolar depressive illness. Schou, research director, Aarhus University Psychiatric Institute, Risskov, Denmark, built on the work of Australian researcher John Cade, MD.
Schou and his mentor, Erik Stromgren, MD, decided to test lithium's effects in a series of double-blind, controlled studies. The first of these, published in 1954, clearly demonstrated that lithium, taken prophylactically, not only kept depression at bay but reduced the frequency and intensity of manic episodes. Schou's subsequent studies demonstrated lithium's effectiveness in treating unipolar depression as well.
Schou's work opened the door to the development of dozens of other compounds for depression and other psychiatric disorders.
Each of the three investigators who share the basic research award—