Monday, May 14, 2012

Lithium May Be Neuroprotective

The element lithium may be neuroprotective in individuals with bipolar disorder, a study published in the May issue of Bipolar Disorders suggests. Fuctional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to visualize and compare the brains of subjects with bipolar disorder who were being treated with lithium, the brains of subjects with bipolar disorder who were not taking lithium, and the brains of healthy controls. Results showed that there was no significant difference in hippocampal volume between bipolar subjects who were getting lithium and the controls. But bipolar subjects who were not getting lithium had a smaller left hippocampus.

Lithium's beneficial effects may not be limited to people with bipolar disorder though. Two other studies have found that lithium in drinking water may be able to protect some people against suicide. For more information about these studies, see Psychiatric News.

(Image: Boris 15/


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