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INTRODUCTION: Alwyn Lishman appreciated that if we are to understand the psychological consequences of cerebral disorder we must study the interaction between organic disease and psychological processes. METHODS: We have reviewed Lishman's two major publications on the neuropsychiatry of head injury, published in 1968 and 1988, and considered their conclusions in the light of current knowledge. RESULTS: In his 1968 paper on the psychiatric sequelae of open head injuries sustained in World War II Lishman demonstrated associations between the type of psychiatric sequelae and the location of the injury. He also found that those with "somatic complaints", such as fatigue or sensitivity to light, showed less evidence of organic injury. In his 1988 paper, he attempted to explain why a mild head injury may be followed by long-lasting symptoms. He suggested that in the absence of complications early, organic, symptoms (physiogenesis) should recover quickly. However, this healthy recovery could be jeopardised by psychological factors (psychogenesis), resulting in long-lasting symptoms. This model of physiogenesis and psychogenesis remains relevant today. CONCLUSIONS: The ideas Lishman developed in these two papers were the basis for his huge contribution to the field of neuropsychiatry, and remain relevant today.

Original publication




Journal article


Cogn Neuropsychiatry

Publication Date





289 - 295


Lishman, neuropsychiatry, “Traumatic brain injury”, Brain Injuries, Traumatic, Craniocerebral Trauma, Humans, Male, Neuropsychiatry