Archives for March, 2011

Genetics

Where’s the Bipolar Gene?

Given all the activity and advances in genetic research, you might expect researchers to have mapped the entire human genome by now and identified the gene or genes responsible for bipolar disorder and other diseases that appear to have a genetic component. Obviously, that hasn't happened. The best that researchers seem to have come up with are associations of certain gene variations with bipolar ā€“ hardly the smoking gun we would hope for.

Even...
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Bipolar Research

Scientists Identify Possible Genetic Risk for Suicide Attempts

In a study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry entitled "A genome-wide association study of attempted suicide," a group of Johns Hopkins researchers (Willour, et al.) report the discovery of a "a small region on chromosome 2 that is associated with increased risk for attempted suicide."
Willour and her colleagues studied DNA samples from nearly 2,700 adults with bipolar disorder, 1,201 of them with a history of suicide attempts...
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Bipolar Medication

Combatting Lithium Joint Pain and Headache Side Effects

Kim


Is there a way to combat the headaches and joint pains when taking the lithium?

Dr. Fink


Hi, Kim. Good question. Most importantly discuss these side effects with your doctor immediately. Your doctor may want to run a blood test to determine your lithium level and make sure your lithium level is not toxic. Headaches can indicate toxicity. Headaches may also be a sign of dehydration, which can occur with lithium, so keeping...
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Antipsychotic

Long-Term Antipsychotic Use May Reduce Brain Volume

Until recently, doctors and researchers had believed that brain volume loss in schizophrenia was caused primarily by the disease itself. One recent study, however, questions this long-held belief and identifies antipsychotics, the medications most commonly used to treat schizophrenia, as the more likely culprits.

With the increased long-term use of antipsychotics to treat schizophrenia and other forms of mental illness, especially bipolar mania, it's important to determine whether...
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Alternative Treatments

Hopewell: A Therapeutic Farm Community

I recently read an interesting article by Kristy Foster on the Farm and Dairy website entitled "A healing place: Farming has a hand in recovery for those suffering from mental illness." The article shines a spotlight on Hopewell Farm in Mesopotamia, Ohio ā€“ a unique 300-acre treatment center for adults with "schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, major depression, and other forms of serious mental illness."
Hopewell has the...
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Antidepressant

Lou Gehrig’s ALS Medication Riluzole for Bipolar Depression

One of the problems with using traditional anti-depressants, especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI's) to treat bipolar depression is the potential risk of triggering a switch from depression to mania. Another issue is that traditional anti-depressants may not be effective in treating depression in some patients.

SSRI's work by inhibiting the reabsorption of the neurotransmitter serotonin, effectively increasing the level of serotonin in the synapses of the brain ā€“ the...
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Bipolar Research

Bipolar Rate Highest in U.S.

The March, 2011 Issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry has published a study entitled "Prevalence and Correlates of Bipolar Spectrum Disorder in the World Mental Health Survey Initiative" (Kathleen R. Merikangas, PhD, et al.). Of the 11 nations included in the study, the United States was found to have the highest lifetime rate of bipolar disorder (). India was lowest with a rate of
This doesnā€™t necessarily mean...
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Bipolar Research

New Genetic Link to Bipolar Disorder

Psych 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...
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Bipolar Research

Premenstrual Exacerbation May Be Linked to More Severe Form of Bipolar Disorder

February's online edition of The American Journal of Psychiatry contains an article entitled "Longitudinal Follow-Up of Bipolar Disorder in Women with Premenstrual Exacerbation: Findings from STEP-BD," by Dr. Rodrigo Dias and colleagues. The objective of their research was to shed light upon "the impact of hormonal fluctuation during the menstrual cycle on the course of bipolar disorder," frequency of relapse, and severity of symptoms.

The study followed 293 pre-menopausal-age women...
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