June 2, 2005

Bipolar Disorder Research Conference, June 16

International conference on bipolar disorder June 16-18 a forum for new research

PITTSBURGH, June 1, New findings in clinical and basic science research will be presented for the first time at the Sixth International Conference on Bipolar Disorder, June 16-18, among them results of a national survey indicating bipolar disorder, commonly known as manic depression, is much more prevalent than previously believed.
More than 1,000 of the world's leading experts on bipolar disorder will assemble in Pittsburgh for the most important international scientific meeting focused exclusively on this disease, which affects both adults and children, devastates families and work relationships, accounts for nearly half of all suicides in the United States and costs billions in medical bills, missed work and lower productivity each year. The Sixth International Conference on Bipolar Disorder will be held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, located in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, and is being sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Held every two years, the conference offers the only venue in the world devoted exclusively to highlighting new research into bipolar disorder. Scientists will present findings covering new approaches to diagnosis and treatment, advances in pharmacotherapy and neuroscience and the latest information on psychosocial issues, vulnerability and risk factors. A staffed press room will be on-site; reporters not able to attend the meeting may participate in press briefings via telephone conference call.

Among the research studies to be presented and featured in the press room are:

The incidence of bipolar disorder in the general population is considerably higher than earlier studies have stated, according to preliminary results from a national survey which also found bipolar disorder results in significantly less productivity and more missed days from work compared to major depressive disorder.

More than 55 years after the first modern use of lithium to treat mania, one of psychiatry's oldest drugs is being found by researchers to be the most effective solution for preventing suicide in patients with bipolar and other types of manic-depressive disorders.

With no gene for bipolar disorder yet discovered, researchers are, in the mean time, proposing a simple blood test to measure antibodies indicative of an abnormal thyroid condition as a way to help identify family members of bipolar patients who also may be at risk for developing the disease.

Imaging studies have found the region in the brain responsible for modulating task performance and appropriate response is abnormally activated in patients during mania, which may explain the reckless, impulsive behaviors that are typical during this phase of the illness.

More information can be found at www.6thbipolar.org


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