ScienceDaily: Brain Holds Clues To Bipolar DisorderLooking into the brain is yielding vital clues to understanding, diagnosing and treating bipolar disorder, according to findings being presented today at the Seventh International Conference on Bipolar Disorder. Two studies, featured in a press briefing held June 7, have helped to identify novel pathways and markers for diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
The first study, presented by Husseini K. Manji, M.D., chief of the Laboratory of Molecular Pathophysiology at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), suggests that bipolar disorder arises from abnormalities in neuronal plasticity cascades – the complex machinery inside of nerve cells that regulates numerous processes inside the body. Using animal and cellular models, Dr. Manji and colleagues at NIMH showed that disruptions in these pathways resulted in many of the core symptoms of bipolar disorder and explained many other observations about the disease. The findings suggest a new avenue for treating the underlying cause of bipolar, rather than treating flare-ups of depression or mania, and also provide new targets, for improved medications many of which are being tested in clinical trials.