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Archives for September, 2010

Chronic Irritability Not To Be Confused with Childhood Bipolar

A Science Update published by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) entitled "Imaging Studies Help Pinpoint Child Bipolar Circuitry" reports the results of recent brain imaging studies that reveal that "...the brain works differently in youth with bipolar disorder (BD) than in chronically irritable children who are often diagnosed with pediatric BD."

According to Ellen Leibenluft, , chief of NIMH's Section on Bipolar Spectrum Disorders, which is conducting the studies, "This suggests that chronically irritable children may suffer from a syndrome distinct from...
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What to Say to or Do for Someone with Bipolar Disorder

Last week I did a post entitled "Supportive Catch Phrases That Make My Blood Boil." It generated some great discussion, and I thank all of you who posted such insightful comments. Venting like this helps me keep a sense of humor when I'm feeling the sting, and many of your comments made me smile, some made me laugh, and a few made me think that maybe my feelings were misdirected.

A couple people were obviously upset. I noticed on our
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The Effects of Chronic Stress on Bipolar Genes

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have published a study entitled "Chronic Corticosterone Exposure Increases Expression and Decreases Deoxyribonucleic Acid Methylation of Fkbp5 in Mice," Endocrinology, September 2010, in which they claim to have identified a possible epigenetic cause of depression and other mood disorders, including bipolar disorder. For a more layman's account of the study and its conclusions, I recommend the Johns Hopkins press release entitled "Chronic Stress May Cause Long-Lasting Epigenetic Changes."

The prefix epi- means outside, above, over,...
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Exploring the Bipolar Disorder Substance Abuse Connection

Current Psychiatry Online (August 2010) has an excellent article by Bryan K. Tolliver, MD, PhD entitled "Bipolar disorder and substance abuse: Overcome the challenges of 'dual diagnosis' patients." If you are interested in exploring the connection between bipolar disorder and substance abuse, I encourage you to read the article.

Tolliver includes a table in his article (Table 1) designed to assess the strengths and weaknesses of some of the most common theories of why substance abuse so often accompanies bipolar disorder. One of...
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Bipolar Disorder Medication Spotlight: Saphris

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News recently ran a brief article entitled "EU Sanctions Merck & Co.'s Sublingual Bipolar Disorder Drug Sycrest." Sycrest was first approved in the in 2009 where Merck markets it as Saphris. Sycrest/Saphris is a "sublingual asenapine drug for treating moderate to severe manic episodes in adult patients with bipolar I disorder" and for treating schizophrenia. When used in treating bipolar disorder mania, it is most effective when used with other anti-manic medications, including lithium and Depakote.

Saphris/asenapine is the...
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