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May 27, 2005

Bipolar Continuing Education

This announcement on new training classes for doctors on Bipolar Disorder looks like the sort of thing that might be of value to others trying to learn about the disorder:

New Continuing Education program for Primary Care Physicians the Latest Insights on Bipolar Disorder; Lifelong Learning Initiative Provides New Tools and Insights for Earlier Diagnosis, Collaborative Care

CME LLC announced today the launch of the Lifelong Learning Initiative on Bipolar Disorder, a full curriculum of continuing medical education programs, running nationwide through December. The Lifelong Learning Initiative is geared toward primary care physicians and addresses the importance of a collaborative approach to the diagnosis and management of bipolar disorder along with the latest findings in screening and best practices regarding treatment. Each educational activity highlights a particular aspect of bipolar disorder and provides clinicians with a complete overview of this pervasive, highly misdiagnosed illness. The need for such education is evident by the fact that 69 percent of bipolar patients are misdiagnosed-usually with major depression-which can have life-altering consequences.(1)

"Research clearly shows that bipolar disorder is among the most difficult illnesses to diagnose," said Marsha Meyer, RPh, senior vice president of clinical information for CME LLC. "Patients frequently seek a physician's care when they're in a state of depression, not elated with mania-the other hallmark of bipolar disorder-so without careful assessment to uncover the full spectrum of patients' histories, physicians often misdiagnose them as suffering solely from major depressive disorder rather than bipolar disorder."

Recent studies show that approximately five percent of the U.S. population struggles with bipolar disorder (2), a much higher incidence than previously estimated, but strides have been made that make efforts to diagnose this disorder much more effective. CME's Lifelong Learning Initiative on Bipolar Disorder fills a critical void in medical education, bringing primary care clinicians the latest psychiatric findings on this disorder, as they are usually a patient's first point of contact.

The Lifelong Learning Initiative on Bipolar Disorder shares vital new findings with primary care physicians around the country by focusing primarily on two components: methods for identifying and diagnosing bipolar disorder and emerging best practices for treating the illness. The curriculum also provides insights on the benefits of collaboration between primary care and mental health specialists in treating this complex illness. While primary care physicians are often the first to recognize depression in their patients, symptoms of bipolar disorder can resemble those related to schizophrenia, borderline personality or even ADHD. Consequently, 35 percent of bipolar patients have to wait 10-12 years before receiving an accurate diagnosis.(3) CME designed this learning initiative to positively impact earlier diagnoses and ultimately help patients suffering from the disorder get the care they need.

Clinicians are encouraged to participate in as many activities as possible to receive the full educational benefit of this curriculum, while earning as many as 29.75 credits. Individual events include half-day meetings and dinner meetings, teleconferences, online programs, enduring supplements and other multimedia activities that cover such critical issues as diagnostic strategies for bipolar disorder, safety and efficacy of available therapies, collaborative care, and many others. An ongoing outcomes study will be conducted prior to, immediately after and three to six months following the completion of the full curriculum. Primary care physicians and other healthcare professionals can register for events, participate in each "Activity of the Month," track credits and learn more about these important patient care issues at http://bipolar.cmellc.com/ .

CME's Lifelong Learning Initiative on Bipolar Disorder is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from AstraZeneca.

About CME LLC

CME LLC is a leading ACCME-accredited provider of continuing medical education programs and offers a wide range of informational and educational resources for healthcare professionals. Based in Irvine, California, CME produces a variety of conferences, multimedia home-study products and Web sites and is the sponsor of the U.S. Psychiatric & Mental Health Congress and the Issues in Aging Medical Congress. For additional information, visit CME online at http://www.cmellc.com

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