August 16

Herpesvirus may lead to bipolar, depression

Scientists have discovered the human herpesvirus HHV-6 in the neurons of people who lived with bipolar or severe depression.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 4.4 percent of the population of the United States will have bipolar disorder at one point in their lives.

While the precise causes of such, often debilitating, psychiatric conditions remain unknown, scientists do know that both genes and the environment play a role.

For instance, a recent study identified 44 genetic loci thought to raise the risk of depression, while another has suggested that 80 percent of schizophrenia risk can be attributed to genes.

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August 2

Comorbid Bipolar Disorder and Substance Abuse: A Challenge to Diagnose and Treat

Comorbid bipolar disorder and substance use disorder are frequently the rule rather than the exception.1 Bipolar disorder has among the highest rates of comorbidities, including anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, impulse control disorders, eating disorders, cardiovascular and respiratory disorders, and sleep apnea.1 Not only are comorbid bipolar disorder and substance use disorder difficult to manage, but they also increase a patient’s likelihood for chronic infectious diseases, injury, and suicide.1

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July 6

The Effects of Sleep Loss on the Risk for Postpartum Psychosis in Bipolar Disorder

The perinatal period is associated with increased vulnerability to new-onset severe mental illness. Postpartum psychosis, for example, affects an estimated 1 in 1000 parous women in the general population and 20% to 30% of those with bipolar disorder. Research investigating the etiology of postpartum psychosis has identified immune dysregulation, genetic factors, and primiparity as potential factors.

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June 5

Bipolar Disorder in the Perinatal Period: No Consensus on Treatment

Given the frequency with which bipolar disorder relapses occur, the perinatal period may be a precarious time for mother and baby.1 In an effort to reconcile differences among different bipolar disorder guidelines, Graham and colleagues sought to decipher the recommendations on bipolar disorder in the perinatal period by reviewing 11 international guidelines published from 2005 to 2015.

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February 7

A new path into bipolar disorder comes to light

Bipolar Disorder (BD) is a multifactorial brain disorder in which patients experience radical shifts in mood and undergo periods of depression followed by periods of mania. It has been known for some time that both environmental and genetic factors play important roles in the disease. For instance, being exposed to high levels of stress for long periods, and especially during childhood, has been associated with the development of BD.

Immediate early genes (IEGs) are a class of genes that respond very rapidly to environmental stimuli, and that includes stress. IEGs respond to a stressor by activating other genes that lead to neuronal plasticity, the ability of brain cells to change in form and function in response to changes in the environment. Ultimately, it is the process of neuronal plasticity that gives the brain the ability to learn from and adapt to new experiences.

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