March 1988

Is 'Lithium Carbonate' an Editorial Dictate?-Reply

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1988;45(3):293. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1988.01800270113015

Dr Schou is the winner of the 1987 Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award, a merited recognition that is also gratifying to psychiatry as a profession. Schou was cited for his "landmark clinical trials of lithium therapy and prophylaxis for manic-depressive illness which initiated a revolution in the treatment of mental disease."

The Editorial Board would not chastise the Lasker Awards Committee for its usage of "lithium therapy." Indeed—having often discussed other cognate concerns about terminology— we welcome Dr Schou's query. It is an opportunity to clarify our actual editorial practice in terminological dispute which—with the full support of the relevant American Medical Association scientific and publication departments—prevails over any presumed "dictate."

The old AMA stylebook indeed singled out the requisite specification of lithium carbonate as a "very special circumstance." This is a focus generated, in my view, from an imprecise reading of purported lethality noted in the 1940s, when

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