Quote of the Month: Professor Alfred Lewy

One reason why this paper caused a paradigm shift was that the received wisdom was that light did not suppress melatonin in humans and that light did not affect circadian rhythms in humans. The received wisdom then was that social cues were the main synchronizers of human circadian rhythms, that humans had evolved in such a way, that we were so intelligent, that we had risen above control by the light/dark cycle. All that thinking changed with our 1980 Science paper. Professor Alfred Lewy, The Recent History of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), pp. 15
Professor Alfred Lewy BS MD PhD (b. 1945) graduated in biochemistry from the University of Chicago in 1967 and obtained his MD and PhD in pharmacology in 1973. Having worked at NIMH in Bethesda and the National Eye Institute, he moved to Oregon Health & Science University in 1981, where he became Director of the Sleep and Mood Disorders Laboratory, eventually becoming Professor of Psychiatry, Ophthalmology and Physiology/Pharmacology. In 2004, he became the Richard H. Phillips Professor of Biological Psychiatry. Upon his retirement in 2014, he became Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychiatry. He has received several honours for his contributions, including a 2011 University of Chicago Alumni Professional Achievement Award for his work on the use of light and melatonin in the elucidation and treatment of circadian rhythm disorders, such as occur in Seasonal Affective Disorder and in totally blind people.
For further resources on the history of Seasonal Affective Disorder, SAD at 30, click here.