Archives for Bipolar Research

Bipolar Depression

Depression and Bipolar Disorder Linked Biologically to Cardiovascular Disease

The American Heart Association has released a statement (circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2015/08/10/CIR.0000000000000229.abstract) identifying major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder in adolescents as specific risk factors for the early development of cardiovascular disease. Their review of numerous studies shows consistently higher risks of cardiovascular disease in adolescents with mood disorders compared to those without.

Increased rates of heart disease in adults with depression and bipolar disorder have been well documented, but this is the first full examination of the data in young people with mood disorders.
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Antidepressant

Reducing the Risk of Triggering Mania with the Use of Antidepressants in Bipolar Disorder

A recent article in the American Journal of Psychiatry sheds light on the vexing challenge of treating depression in individuals who have an underlying bipolar disorder: For many people with bipolar disorder, depression occurs more frequently and damages function more severely than mania, but treating bipolar depression with antidepressants carries the risk of triggering manic symptoms.
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Stem Cell Research Sheds Light on Genetic Factor in Bipolar Disorder

A study published last month in a journal called Translational Psychiatry entitled "Transcripts involved in calcium signaling and telencephalic neuronal fate are altered in induced pluripotent stem cells from bipolar disorder patients" reported interesting findings about the development of brain cells in people with bipolar disorder compared to controls — people without bipolar disorder. The study was unique in two important ways:

The study was based on the increasingly accepted concept that even subtle changes in early embryonic brain development can cause symptoms of mental illness that appear later in life.
The researchers took advantage of evolving technology that creates stem cells — the origin cells in embryos that evolve into all the different cells types in the body — from adults rather than taking them from embryos. This allows researchers to have access to many more stem cells and also offers the opportunity to compare the stem cells from adults with certain diseases to those without and to see differences in the way they develop.

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Antipsychotic

Do Antipsychotics Work by Affecting Gene Function in Bipolar?

Researchers at the University of Michigan have discovered that antipsychotics may work, at least in part, by restoring normal gene function in people with bipolar disorder. (Chen, H., Wang, N., Zhao, X., Ross, C. A., O’Shea, K. S. and McInnis, M. G. (2013), "Gene expression alterations in bipolar disorder postmortem brains." Bipolar Disorders, 15: 177–187. doi: 10.1111/bdi.12039)

The research team did post-mortem (after death) examinations on the brains of three groups of people:

People with bipolar disorder who never took antipsychotics
People with bipolar disorder who had taken antipsychotics
People without bipolar disorder (the control group)
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Bipolar Medication

Ebselen May Work Like Lithium with Fewer Serious Side Effects

According to a recent study published in the journal Nature Communications entitled "A safe lithium mimetic for bipolar disorder," British researchers are exploring a medication called ebselen as a possible treatment for bipolar disorder in humans. Originally developed to treat stroke, ebselen may be as effective as lithium in treating bipolar mania but carry fewer and less serious side effects than lithium.

As the article points out,
Lithium is the most effective mood stabilizer for the treatment of bipolar disorder, but it is toxic at only twice the therapeutic dosage and has many undesirable side effects.
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Advocacy

Mental Illness Stigma or Discrimination?

The Fall edition of the NAMI Advocate (2012) contains an interesting article by NAMI Communications Coordinator Brendan McLean entitled "The Hope for Mental Illness Research: Dr. Tom Insel Shares the Latest Data at NAMI Convention." But it wasn't the discussion about research that piqued my interest. Instead, it was what Dr. Insel said about stigma and the importance of engaging the family in the recovery process.

Stigma Versus Discrimination

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