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Journal of ECT:
doi: 10.1097/YCT.0b013e31818f5766
Original Studies

Sakel Versus Meduna: Different Strokes, Different Styles of Scientific Discovery

Shorter, Edward PhD, FRSC

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Abstract

It is ironic that Laszlo Meduna and Manfred Sakel made epochal discoveries in psychiatry only two years apart because in most other ways, the two men could hardly be more different. The story of their differences and similarities invites us to consider the personal preconditions for scientific discovery. What common denominators led them to develop treatments, which represent the introduction of convulsive therapy, which remains today the most powerful treatment in psychiatry? Despite the marked differences in their personalities, Sakel and Meduna shared intellectual quickness, drive, and a willingness to take risks, three qualities that, in the case of these individuals at least, came together to revolutionize the treatment of serious psychiatric illness.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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