Is It Possible to Isolate Bipolar Disorder Genes?
Bipolar disorder is known to run in families, but most genes involved have not yet been identified. Additionally, every individual’s response to the illness, life circumstances and treatment can vary widely. Studying many individuals over time will allow scientists to better understand how to treat and eventually prevent bipolar disorder.
This study requires a long term time commitment as individuals will be tracked up to ten years. Researchers will monitor the course and patterns of bipolar disorder of the participants, and genetic material (DNA) will be collected through a blood draw. This procedure will help researchers study potential genetic causes of bipolar disorder.
An initial intake at the University of Michigan will take approximately eight hours. This includes a mental health history interview and neuropsychological testing. However this study protocol does not include treatment intervention such as medication, talk therapy, or another therapeutic intervention.
WeSearchTogether connects you to studies you can do from anywhere—no travel required! Check out the latest remote-participation studies:
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As we observe suicide prevention month we turn to science to help us identify when a person is at risk. People contemplating suicide often keep their plans a secret from friends and family for fear of disgrace or hospitalization, but new research shows that the message may be in their blood. According to a new study, certain physical markers found in the blood stream may indicate whether someone is at a high, or low risk of suicide.
For the study, scientists sampled the blood of 75 male patients who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Since those with bipolar disorder are more prone to suicide1 and often experience extreme mood changes, scientists were able to track any genetic changes in their blood stream. In addition to the blood sampling, the research team also conducted interviews every three-to-six months to determine the patients’ mental state at the time of testing.
By comparing the blood of those who are suicidal, those who are not, and those who had previously committed suicide, researchers from the Indiana University School of Medicine and the VA Medical Center in Indianapolis identified levels of protein molecules in the blood that were higher with suicidal thoughts.
“I think the study provides hope we can have some objective tests in the future, that are biologically based,” said Dr. Alexander Niculescu, an associate professor of psychiatry and medical neuroscience at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis and one of the lead authors of the study. Watch video.
David Litts, executive secretary for the National Action Alliance for Suicide prevention, said the research is a promising lead for further studies in this particular field, but more studies need to be done for the public to see any change. “I think that there is great promise in this area of research,” said Litts. “The down side is that this great promise is something that we won’t see for a while unless public mental health is given high priority with regards to prevention and research.”
The U.S. Surgeon General along with the National Alliance for Suicide Prevention promote prevention strategies such as social support, community connectedness, and access to mental health and preventive services which are important for addressing suicide risk across the lifespan.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-Talk (1-800-273-8255) or www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
National Hopeline Network
1-800-Suicide (1-800-784-2433) or www.hopeline.com
Military Crisis Line
1-800-273-8255 (press 1 to speak to a trained professional)
1 Novick DM, Swartz HA, Frank E. Suicide attempts in bipolar I and bipolar II disorder; a review and a meta-analysis of the evidence. Bipolar Disord 2010;12: 1-9