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Actions and Mechanisms

Rif S. El-Mallakh, M.D.

  • ISBN 978-0-88048-481-7
  • Item #8481

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Manic-depressive illness exchanges stability and calm for fleeting euphoria and energy. It may reward those who have it with creative minds, while undermining their ability or opportunity to apply that creativity.

Lithium has restored the lives of an untold number of individuals and brought to life their dreams. It is the simplest medicinal agent available, and its ability to alleviate the signs and symptoms of this enigmatic disease makes it quite intriguing. In addition, many pragmatic issues make it essential to investigate. It is nearly as dualistic as the disease it treats, because there is a minuscule difference between the healing and the destructive powers of lithium.

Lithium: Actions and Mechanisms begins by exploring the therapeutic and toxic actions of lithium. Discussions incorporate mechanistic pearls to provide a clear and rational understanding of lithium's clinical actions. The author then investigates basic aspects of lithium's action on first messengers, second messengers, and membranes. This section integrates basic data and theoretical models as well as clinical pearls to provide a clear understanding of lithium's cellular effects. The epilogue combines all the divergent information into one coherent measurement of lithium's clinical action.

Lithium: Actions and Mechanisms is unique because it critically reviews major mechanistic theories of lithium actions and combines basic mechanisms with clinical application. This approach provides clinicians and scientists with a greater understanding of lithium. Because the first half is clinical and the second half is basic, it is also an excellent instructional tool for students and residents.


  • Clinical Experience.

    Lithium in bipolar illness. Utility of lithium in other conditions. Lithium toxicity.

    Mechanisms of Lithium Action.

    Lithium and first messengers. Observations on second-messenger systems. Ionic mechanisms of lithium action. Epilogue. References. Index.

About the Authors

Rif S. El-Mallakh, M.D., is Director of the Mood Disorders Research Program and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and Behavioral Sciences in Louisville, Kentucky.

All in all, Dr. El-Mallakh has produced a credible vehicle that conveys the reader form clinic to test tube in terms of understanding lithium and its marvelous impact on psychiatry over the last several decades.—American Journal of Psychiatry

Dr. El-Mallakh has taken his vast knowledge of the literature and his extensive clinical and research experience to put together an encyclopedic overview of the actions and mechanisms of the first modern psychotropic drug: lithium. The book will become a standard reference on lithium through the remainder of this decade, as well as a metaphor for the modern history of neuropsychopharmacology.—Roger E. Meyer, M.D., Vice President for Medical Affairs and Executive Dean, George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, DC

In an unusually clear and concise manner, Dr. El-Mallakh leads readers through lithium's introduction into psychiatry, guides us through its examination in the test tube, and provides an elegant synthesis of how it produces its remarkable effects. Lithium is good cover-to-cover reading, but will also serve as an excellent reference source.—Richard J. Wyatt, M.D., Chief, Neuropsychiatry Branch, National Institutes of Mental Health at St. Elizabeth's Hospital, Washington, DC

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