In 2015, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) facilities in the US directly detected ripples in space-time known as gravitational waves. These waves were produced by the final spiral of two oribiting black holes that smashed into each other, sending ripples across the universe.
In this Podcast Extra, Benjamin Thompson speaks to Cole Miller from the University of Maryland about the quest to detect gravitational waves, which were first hypothesised by Albert Einstein back in 1916.
Lifespan, by geneticist David Sinclair and journalist Matthew LaPlante, provides a vision of a not-too-distant future in which living beyond 120 will be commonplace. For Sinclair and LaPlante, the answer lies in understanding and leveraging why we age…
Lifespan is entertaining and fast-paced — a whirlwind tour of the recent past and a near future that will see 90 become the new 70. In a succession of colourfully titled chapters (‘The demented pianist’, ‘A better pill to swallow’), Sinclair and LaPlante weave a masterful narrative of how we arrived at this crucial inflection point. Among the historical figures evoked are a sixteenth-century Venetian proponent of caloric restriction, Luigi Cornaro, and the twentieth-century ‘father of information theory’, Claude Shannon.
He wondered whether lithium could have the same tranquillizing effect on his patients. After trying it out on himself to establish a safe dose, Cade began treating ten people with mania. In September 1949, he reported fast and dramatic improvements in all of them in the Medical Journal of Australia (J. F. J. Cade Med. J. Aus. 2, 349–351; 1949). The majority of these patients had been in and out of Bundoora for years; now, five had improved enough to return to their homes and families.
Lithium: A Doctor, a Drug, and a BreakthroughWalter A. BrownLiveright (2019)
Some 70 years ago, John Cade, an Australian psychiatrist, discovered a medication for bipolar disorder that helped many patients to regain stability swiftly. Lithium is now the standard treatment for the condition, and one of the most consistently effective medicines in psychiatry. But its rise was riddled with obstacles. The intertwined story of Cade and his momentous finding is told in Lithium, a compelling book by US psychiatrist Walter Brown.