genetics and bipolarPsych Central’s Senior News Editor Rick Nauert recently posted a piece entitled “Genetic Variant Heightens Risk for Bipolar Disorder.” In it, he calls attention to a recent study published in the American Journal of Human Genetics that’s “based on a relatively new technique for the study of the genetics of bipolar disorder” termed genome-wide association studies (GWAS).

We invite you to check out the post, especially if you’re interested in keeping up on the latest breakthroughs in identifying the genetic component of bipolar disorder. Although it may be years before these genetic studies translate into any sort of gene therapy, if that’s even possible, they deliver an immediate benefit in three important ways:

  • The genetic link adds to the growing body of scientific evidence that proves bipolar disorder to be a genuine illness and not a personality flaw or behavioral disorder.
  • As we get closer to identifying the gene or genes responsible for bipolar disorder, we get closer to developing a test for it.
  • What we learn from the research helps in developing prescription medications that are more effective in targeting symptoms while causing fewer undesirable side effects.

Photo by Micah Baldwin, available under a Creative Commons attribution license.