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This year`s Main Prize goes to "Troubled Minds - the Lithium Revolution" Written and Directed by Dennis K. Smith and Produced by John Lewis for Film Australia (An Australian Government owned company in association with Omar Khayam Films, Executive Producers Penny Robins, Franco di Chiera. 

The recently completed documentary is the story of Dr John Cade, the Australian scientist who in the 1940s discovered an astonishing treatment for bi-polar disorder.  The work revolutionised the way that we think about mental illness and marked the beginning of psychopharmacolgy - using drugs to manage psychiatric conditions.  This was inspired thinking at a time when Freudian psychoanalysis, electric shock and lobotomy were dominant approaches and patients were often locked up in asylums. 

The breakthrough followed years of research and experimentation, and it would take two more decades of struggle before lithium treatment was finally accepted - but Cade`s successors persevered.  Their work has meant a chance of stability for hundreds of thousands of people, and lithium remains the benchmark for bi-polar treatment today.

Harry Kroto commented "The film is a well balanced historical account of how this general practitioner with no research experience made observations and on the basis of a hunch and followed a path that led to this major discovery.  Themix of common sense and serendipity is nicely explained and the idea to feature Cade`s two sons as the main story tellers works well.  This film was our unanimous choice for the Vega Main Award for Science Programming 2004."

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BA Festival of Science

Film Australia

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