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Archives for Heredity

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...
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Bipolar Research

NCAN Gene Linked to Mania

In the September issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, researchers report a series of studies that suggest a strong association between one particular genetic variation and manic symptoms. (Studies in humans and mice implicate neurocan in the etiology of mania. Miró X, Meier S, Dreisow ML, Frank J, Strohmaier J, Breuer R, Schmäl C, Albayram O, Pardo-Olmedilla MT, Mühleisen TW, Degenhardt FA, Mattheisen M, Reinhard I, Bilkei-Gorzo A, Cichon S, Seidenbecher...
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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 – hardly the smoking gun we would hope for.

Even...
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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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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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Genetically Immune from Bipolar Disorder?

Results of a recent study published in the September 30, 2008 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that a relatively common gene mutation may protect people from ever developing bipolar disorder. The study, entitled “A common variant in the 3′UTR of the GRIK4 glutamate receptor gene affects transcript abundance and protects against bipolar disorder,” suggests that a missing section of DNA in GRIK4 gene provides the protection.
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Children of Older Dads at Higher Risk of Developing Bipolar Disorder… So?

A study published in this month's General Archives of Psychiatry entitled "Advancing Paternal Age and Bipolar Disorder," reports that children of older fathers have a higher risk of developing bipolar disorder than children of younger fathers. This is a large study, and the data are quite strong. Fathers age 40 and older show some increased risk of having a child with bipolar disorder, but the risk really grows with fathers ages 55 and older.
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NIMH: More Data Prove Genetic Link to Bipolar Disorder

Recently, the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) distributed a press release entitled "Largest Study of Its Kind Implicates Gene Abnormalities in Bipolar Disorder." According to the press release, this "largest genetic analysis of its kind to date for bipolar disorder has implicated machinery involved in the balance of sodium and calcium in brain cells." As the press release points out, no single gene has been identified as the "bipolar gene." Researchers generally agree that multiple genes contribute to make an individual more...
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