Conference Celebrates Lithium's 50 Years As A Miracle Drug

April 26, 1999

Although few people recognize it as such, lithium is clearly one of medicine's "miracle drugs," with recent research showing it helps prevent suicide in people with bipolar disorder and may be effective in altering the course of some of mankind's most intractable diseases such as cancer and AIDS. On May 6-11, 1999, medical researchers from around the world will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the use of lithium in medicine at Lithium-Lexington '99: A Celebration of 50 Years of Lithium in Clinical Medicine. The conference is being hosted by the International Society for Lithium Research and the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center in Lexington, Ky.

Several sessions at the conference will focus on lithium's effectiveness in reducing suicide in people with bipolar disorder (manic-depression). Without treatment, about one out of every five people with bipolar disorder will die by suicide. However, recent research shows the overall risk of suicidal acts is significantly lower with ongoing lithium treatment. Participants at the conference also will hear about the latest research on lithium's applications in immunology, virology, and oncology. For example, lithium has been shown to boost the body's immune system by encouraging the development of white blood cells, slow down the proliferation of cancer cells, and interfere with the reproduction of viruses.


Copies of press materials and abstracts may be obtained by calling Angie Cecil at 202-973-2902 or by e-mail at Lithium-Lexington '99 is sponsored through unrestricted educational grants from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the Lithium Information Center at the Madison Institute of Medicine, the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association and Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

University of Kentucky Medical Center

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