March 7

Daily diaries show how cannabis use may affect bipolar patients

A recent study delved into the daily lives of sufferers of bipolar disorder by following daily reports of their cannabis use and mental state.  The idea that cannabis use can be used to self-medicate is placed to the test.  While the small sample size may not provide statistically significant results, it allows some of the reasons linking use to be highlighted, providing a launching pad for larger studies…

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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

January 1

Psychiatry Prospects for 2015: Out With the Old, In With the New?

With the new year reviving old desires, one may wonder what, if anything, new will be in store for the practice of psychiatry… While there will likely not be many new drugs with highly different biological mechanisms, there are numerous refinements that should improve some of the current classes of drugs. Another change will be that insurance companies should begin covering more psychotherapy visits for a longer period of time than in previous years, which will be great news for many psychological practices… Click here to read the full article (free registration required)

October 24

Insulin resistance linked to treatment-refractory bipolar disorder

Patients with bipolar disorder who are insulin resistant are likely to also be refractory to mood-stabilizing treatment, report researchers.  This important idea can play a huge role in treating diabetic bipolar patients, providing a reason why medications may not work as well as they would on a control group… “We may find that unless we identify and treat underlying insulin resistance in patients with refractory bipolar disorder, these patients may remain unwell.”

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October 24

Bipolar disorder discovery at the nano level

A nano-sized discovery by Northwestern Medicine scientists helps explain how bipolar disorder affects the brain and could one day lead to new drug therapies to treat the mental illness…  Using a new super-resolution imaging method, scientists have been able to peer into the synapses and discovered genetic structures with concentrated levels of the gene most strongly associated with bipolar disorder…

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October 16

Mood and Magnetic Stimulation

A new experimental procedure is under testing that looks at the theory that a magnetized machine (akin to an MRI) can provide immediate alleviation of symptoms of depression and bipolar disorder.  Harvard Medical School’s Michael Rohan hypothesizes that the device sends electric fields into cortical regions of the brain, where they may affect the dendrites, fibers that transmit information between neurons and play a key role in mood regulation.  Long-term effectiveness remains unproven but are currently under trials.

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October 16

ADHD Increases Depression to Bipolar Disorder Conversion

Young people with major depression have an increased risk of conversion to bipolar disorder if they have comorbid attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), suggest findings from a longitudinal follow-up study.  Findings show bipolar disorder was significantly more common in patients with major depression and ADHD than in those with major depression alone, with incidences of 18.9% versus 11.2%…

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October 15

Rare Genetic Disease Protects Against Bipolar Disorder

New findings show that a rare genetic dwarfism called Ellis van-Creveld (EvC) syndrome protects against bipolar affective disorder. The discovery was made thanks to decades of research in a few Old Order Amish families of Pennsylvania with a high incidence of both diseases. Forty years of documented research across multiple generations showed that no person with EvC has been reported with bipolar disorder. This new knowledge is already being studied in drugs currently in clinical trials and is a very exciting development in forthcoming bipolar treatments.

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