Mogens Schou Awards

Mogens Schou was born in Copenhagen in 1918. After graduation from Copenhagen University Medical School in 1944 he trained in clinical psychiatry at Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish hospitals and in experimental biology at institutes in Copenhagen, New York, and Aarhus.

Beginning in 1951, Professor Schou worked at the psychiatric hospital in Risskov, Denmark, and from 1956 as head of its Psychopharmacology Research Unit. In 1971 he was appointed to a newly created chair of biological psychiatry at Aarhus University. He retired in 1988.

In 1952 Dr. Schou and his associates gave lithium to their first manic patient, and in 1954 they published the outcome of a partly open, partly randomized and placebo-controlled trial, which was the first of its kind in psychiatric pharmacotherapy. It confirmed the antimanic effect of lithium, first observed in 1949 by John Cade. In the 1960s Paul Christian Baastrup, a Danish psychiatrist, and Professor Schou carried out a study of lithium treatment in patients with recurrent manic-depressive disorder. It ran over six-and-a-half years, involved 88 patients, and was published in 1967. It showed that long-term lithium treatment was associated with a marked (87 percent) and long-lasting decrease in the frequency of manic and depressive recurrences, that the effect was the same in bipolar and unipolar patients, and that the efficacy of lithium did not disappear with time or after interruption and subsequent resumption of the treatment.

Lithium thus became the first long-term treatment that could break the almost inexorable development of manic and depressive recurrences. Prophylactic lithium treatment was adopted by other psychiatrists who confirmed its efficacy. The Danish trial was, however, criticized on methodological grounds by psychiatrists who had never, themselves, given lithium. Baastrup, Schou, and their associates then carried out two randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, prospective discontinuation trials. They were terminated after six months by a sequential analysis and showed a highly significant difference between lithium and placebo in both bipolar and unipolar patients.

After publication of this study in 1970, lithium became the first-choice mood stabilizer in bipolar disorder, whereas, to Professor Schou’s dismay, its considerable ability to prevent recurrent depressions has generally been disregarded.

Over the years, Professor Schou published more than 530 articles, books and book chapters. His studies have dealt with the effect of lithium treatment on artistic creativity, treatment management and monitoring, treatment regimens, somatic and psychological side effects, the effects of lithium treatment on kidney and thyroid function, interaction with other drugs, and acute and late effects of intoxication. Together with an international research team, the International Group for The Study of Lithium Treated Patients  (IGSLI), which he initiated, Professor Schou studied the effect of long-term lithium treatment on mortality and suicidal behavior, as well as the genetics of ‘excellent lithium responders.’ Since lithium cannot be patented, it has received limited commercial support, and Professor Schou, therefore, lectured extensively to psychiatrists, hospital physicians, general practitioners, and patient groups in order to promote its appropriate use. He also wrote books in non-technical language for patients and families, which have been published in 12 languages.

Professor Schou received numerous honors and awards, including the Danish Alfred Benzon and Ernst Carlsen Prizes 1967 and 1968, first Prize from the German Anna-Monika Stiftung 1969 (for work carried out with J.Angst, P.C.Baastrup, P.Grof and P.Weis), the German Paul Martini Prize 1969 (with the same), the Danish Novo Foundation Prize 1971, the International Scientific Kittay Foundation Award 1974 (shared with John Cade), the Taylor Manor Hospital Psychiatric Award 1978, the Great Nordic Fernström Prize 1979, the John Cade Memorial Award 1982, the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association's Abraham Lincoln Award 1987, the Mary and Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award 1987, the American David R. Wood Award 1988, the Lundbeck Foundation's Research Prize 1988, the International Society of Lithium Research’s Mogens Schou Prize for Lifetime Achievement 1995, and the CINP Pioneers in Psychopharmacology Award 2000.

Professor Schou was an honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (Great Britain), Collegium Internationale Neuro-Psychopharmacologium, the British Association of Psycho-pharmacology, the Scandinavian Society for Psychopharmacology, and many other scientific societies. He held honorary doctorates from Universities of Marseille, Munich, and Prague. 

Dr. Schou’s continued his research and advocacy work right until his death in 2005.  We are grateful to have this opportunity to honor him and remember his enduring and revolutionary contributions to the treatment of individuals with bipolar disorder.


Previous Awardees



17th Annual Conference of the ISBD:  2015

Education and Teaching: Gin Malhi, MD, PhD

Research: Paul Grof, MD, PhD, FRCP

Public Service and Advocacy: Erin Michalak, PhD



10th ICBD:  2013

Education and Advocacy: Flavio Kapczinski, MD, PhD

Research: Carlos A. Zarate, MD

Public Service: Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)



9th Bipolar Conference:  2011

Education and Advocacy: Mark Frye, MD

Research: Marion Leboyer, MD

Public Service: Muffy Walker



8th Bipolar Conference:  2009

Education and Advocacy:  Lakshmi Yatham, MD, MBA

Research:  Guy Goodwin, MD

Public Service:  Joyce and Dusty Sang



7th Bipolar Conference:  2007

Education and Advocacy:  Adriano Camargo

Research: Francesc Colom, PsyD, MSc, PhD and Eduard Vieta, MD, PhD

Public Service:  John McManamy, LLB



6th Bipolar Conference:  2005

Education and Advocacy: Paolo Lucio Morselli, MD

Research: David J. Miklowitz, PhD

Distinguished Service: Samuel Gershon, MD



5th Bipolar Conference:  2003

Education: Kay Jamison, PhD

Research: Husseini K. Manji, MD

Distinguished Service: Waltraud Prechter



4th Bipolar Conference:  2001

Founder’s Award: Mogens Schou, MD, Dr.Med.Sci.

Research: Jules Angst, MD

Distinguished Service: Vada and Ted Stanley