Monday, March 19, 2012

Lithium Boosts Clock Rhythms

For many years, lithium has been a mainstay treatment for bipolar disorder. But exactly how it benefits bipolar patients has not been clear. Now scientists have found, in cell/tissue studies, that lithium increases the amplitude, or strength, of body-clock rhythms. "Our findings...offer a novel explanation as to how lithium may be able to stablize mood swings in bipolar patients," the researchers wrote in a press release accompanying the publication of their paper March 12 in PLoS One.

Furthermore, lithium's biological and psychological benefits may not be limited to people with bipolar disorder. Two other studies have found that lithium in drinking water may be able to provide some protection against suicide. For more information about these studies, see Psychiatric News. For an in-depth review of the latest knowledge about lithium and other treatments for bipolar disorder, see American Psychiatric Publishing's Handbook of Diagnosis and Treatment of Bipolar Disorders.

(Image: nicobatista/



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