Kraepelin — Aging remarkably well after more than a century

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This Wiki Page is for Discussion of the chapters from “Manic Depressive Insanity and Paranoia” by Emil Kraepelin, translated from the German in 1921.

I remember having powerful and contradictory emotions reading this (in 2002, when I was at Case Western Reserve University). The more powerful feeling was awe, at how relevant and fresh Kraepelin’s observations and ideas still seem. The other feeling was a blend of sadness and humbleness, almost embarrassment, that 100 years of research had not moved us so far from what Kraepelin saw before World War I in Europe… before lithium, neuroimaging, genetics, and our modern tools.

I believe that we are closer to answers, but our ability to realize the potential of  these modern tools will depend in part on careful clinical observation. We may be at a place and time where we can combine Kraepelin’s vision and clinical acumen with methods that can produce lasting change in the lives of people affected by bipolar disorder.

I want to re-read the Kraepelin now, after the “Research Domain Criteria” (RDoC) idea has been invented and gained currency. RDoC didn’t exist when I first discovered Kraepelin. I bet that reading Kraepelin again, I will find previews and hints of RDoC domains. More than hints, actually.

I look forward to reading your thoughts, insights, and questions from reading Kraepelin. It will be neat to go back and look at my own musings years from now, too — a team Wiki can be a sort of “time capsule.”

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, too!

-EAY (aka “The Bald Guy”)