Monday, September 17, 2012

Hope Grows for Potential Bipolar Disorder Biomarker

A potential biomarker for bipolar disorder may have been found, Tomas Hajek, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor of psychiatry at Dalhousie University in Canada, and his colleagues reported recently in Biological Psychiatry. The study included 154 subjects—19 adolescents or young adults with bipolar disorder, 50 nonaffected relatives of people with bipolar disorder, 36 affected relatives of people with bipolar disorder, and 49 healthy control subjects. Using MRI imaging, the scientists found that subjects with bipolar disorder as well as their affected and unaffected relatives had a significantly larger inferior frontal gyrus in the brain than controls did. "The finding that the inferior frontal gyrus may be a biomarker for bipolar disorder is exciting and important," Kiki Chang, M.D., a professor of psychiatry and director of the pediatric bipolar disorders program at Stanford University, told Psychiatric News. Chang was not connected with the study.
More information about this research will appear in the September 21 Psychiatric News.

To better appreciate the impact that bipolar disorder can have on people, view two interviews on the PBS television series "Healthy Minds" with well-known personalities who have the illness—Patty Duke and Jane Pauley. The series is hosted by Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., editor-in-chief of Psychiatric News. Click here to view the interviews .

(Image: luxorphoto/