Malpractice News: Genetic Traits Linked to Bipolar Disorder
Malpractice News: Researchers studying whether there is a genetic link related to bipolar disorder have discovered that two genes that influence the activity of brain nerve cells may play a role in the risk of developing the disorder. The study findings were published in the August 2008 edition of Nature Genetics.
Bipolar disorder is marked by extreme shifts in mood, energy and the patient’s ability to cope in everyday situations. Patients experience periods of hyperactivity and euphoria, which contrast with periods of irritability and depression. According to mental health experts, 30-60% of bipolar patients also suffer from alcohol and drug abuse problems. The disorder is known to run in families, and affects approximately one to three percent of adults throughout the world.
The study was the largest genetic analysis of its kind on bipolar disorder. A team of scientists studied the genomes of over 10,000 individuals in the U.S. and U.K., including over 4,000 who have bipolar disorder.
The researchers found those with bipolar disorder are more likely to have certain variants of two specific genes which produce proteins that govern the flow of sodium and calcium ions in and out of neurons in the brain. The ions influence the activity of the nerve cells. The study findings suggest that bipolar disorder may stem, at least in part, from malfunctions in the flow of these ions.
While the study findings are not expected to lead to a genetic test for the risk of developing bipolar disorder, researchers state that the study can help lead to better treatments for the disorder.
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