November 1

Bipolar Patients’ Brain Cells Predict Response to Lithium

Recent studies show that the brain cells of patients with bipolar disorder are more sensitive to stimuli than other people’s brain cells.   “Researchers hadn’t all agreed that there was a cellular cause to bipolar disorder,” says Rusty Gage, a professor in Salk’s Laboratory of Genetics. “So our study is important validation that the cells of these patients really are different.”

The finding is among the first to show at a cellular level how the disorder affects the brain. Moreover, it reveals why some patients respond to treatment with lithium while others don’t.

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October 14

Can Omega-3 Help Improve Mood and Mental Imbalances?

In searching for an alternative to Lithium, Dr. Andrew Stoll discovered that fish oil can operate in a similar way to lithium by stabilizing cell walls.  A new study shows that omega-3s may not only be effective in treating patients with bipolar disorder and depression, but could also be effective for those who have early onset psychosis.   It was found that the majority of participants in the intervention group did not show severe functional impairment, and no longer experienced psychotic symptoms at the follow-up.  So for many mental issues one may face, make sure you are getting plenty of omega-3 to help the brain to functions at its highest.

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October 14

The Conversation About Dating One With a Mental Illness

Breaking the news of one’s diagnosis of a mental health issue to a new partner in a relationship is never an easy task.  Some people might be hesitant to disclose their mental health statuses to their partners, viewing it as none of their business. But experts say if you have a mental illness, the question is not if, but when to divulge it to your partner.

Being upfront and truthful is key in helping them understand what you’re going through and any different behaviors or moods that one may display.

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October 14

MoodNetwork Seeks New Depression and Bipolar Treatments

MoodNetwork is the first online patient-powered research network for depression and bipolar disorder (mood disorders). MoodNetwork aims to bring together 50,000 participants who have experienced mood disorders, and their friends and families, to collaborate with researchers and clinicians.

“Depression and bipolar disorder affect millions of people, but the treatments available, while helpful for many, are not good enough,” says Andrew Nierenberg, MD. “We need a new approach both to use the treatments we have more effectively and to develop better treatments. That’s where MoodNetwork comes in.”

Click here to read the full article

September 17

Antidepressants can increase depression & mood cycling in rapid-cycling bipolar disorder patients

Antidepressants are the most commonly prescribed class of medication for patients with Bipolar Disorder.  For those suffering from Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder (about 25% of Bipolar patients), these medications may work to bring them out of a depressive episode.  However studies show that they may also increase the frequency and intensity of manic and depressive episodes.

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September 17

Human Nature Limits Good Medication Adherence in Bipolar Patients

Studies show that nearly 40%-45% of bipolar patients do not take their medication as prescribed.  There are multiple reasons for this issue, some patients miss the euphoric “high” that can come with a manic episode, while many others stop medication when they feel “better” as they no longer think they need it…  This problem can cause serious complications with a patient’s health and life in general.

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January 18

High-res MRI links cerebellum to bipolar disorder

A different type of MRI has given researchers an unprecedented look at previously unrecognized differences in the brains of people with bipolar disorder, a new study from the University of Iowa reports. Specifically, the findings reveal differences in the white matter of patients’ brains and in the cerebellum, an area of the brain not previously linked with the disorder. The cerebellar differences were not present in patients taking lithium, the most commonly used treatment for bipolar disorder. Click here to read the full article