June 29, 2007

New Psychiatric Genomics Center Established

The Stanley Center for Psychiatric Genomics is a new research center opened by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory with a $25 million endowment from the Stanley Medical Research Institute. The new center will focus its research on understanding the genetics of disorders, such as Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia.

The center will begin by comparing large numbers of people's genome sequences in hopes that they will be able to identify those genetic factors responsible in creating these mental illnesses. This type of focus couldn't have come at a better time; genetic components of Bipolar disorder seem to be on the brink with many promising research results coming from geneticists all over the world. Hopefully a center like this can allow these researchers to come together and improve the lives of those suffering and even prevent others from the same fate.

The goal of the Center is to unambiguously diagnose patients with psychiatric disorders based on their DNA sequence in 10 years time.

The new Center at CSHL will allow world-renowned geneticists and molecular biologists to apply the most powerful technology and to access appropriately selected DNA samples. "We are confident that our investment in CSHL's mission oriented research will yield results that will improve the lives of so many who are impacted by these psychiatric disorders," said Theodore R. Stanley.

"At this exciting time for biomedical science, I am most passionate about the potential of breakthroughs in neuroscience research," said CSHL Chancellor James D. Watson, Ph.D. "At CSHL we are already making significant strides in understanding autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. We share the Stanley's commitment to use DNA to properly diagnose psychiatric disorders so that patients can be treated safely and effectively."

Read Full Press Release:

Psychiatric Genomics Center Established at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory with $25 million gift from the Stanley Medical Research Institute From: www.CSHL.edu

Posted by Michelle Roberts at 10:45 AM | Comments (4)

Stanford University Bipolar Education Day - July 14th

Stanford University is hosting its 3rd annual bipolar disorder education day on July 14th, 2007. This is a great way for the psychiatric department at any university to give back to the local community and provide accessible information. Our coverage of past Stanford Bipolar Education days (with views of their presentations) is here: Bipolar Disorder Information and Treatment Presentations and also here: Highlights from Bipolar/Schizophrenia Education Day.

3rd Annual - Bipolar Education Day

When: Saturday, July 14th, 2007, 9am to 1:30 pm

Where: Sherman Fairchild Auditorium
291 Campus Drive
Stanford CA 94305

About the Bipolar Disorder Education Day:

Presented by the Stanford University School of Medicine's Dr. Terence Ketter, MD Director, Bipolar Clinic

Additional Speakers:

Dr. Natalie Rasgon - Stanford Center for Neuroscience in Women's Health
Dr. Po Wang &Dr. Jenifer Culver -Bipolar Disorders Clinic
Dr. Manasi Rana -Pediatric Bipolar Disorders Program
Krista Radojevich -NAMI
Marilyn Hillerman -DBSA
Andrea Hillerman -DBSA

Who Should Go: Individuals with Bipolar disorders, family members, caregivers, friends and all community members interested in adult, pediatric and women's issues related to Bipolar Disorders are invited to attend.

Continental Breakfast and light lunch will be provided

Free parking in front of auditorium

Pre-registration nor RSVP not required

For additional information, please contact:
Kristine Keller at 650.498.4968 or email at klkeller@stanford.edu

PDF Information Flyer on Event

Directions and Parking

Directions to Fairchild

For more information: Stanford University Bipolar Disorder Research programs

Posted by Michelle Roberts at 10:12 AM | Comments (5)

June 26, 2007

Omega-3's May Be Helpful in Treatment of Childhood Bipolar Disorder

Omega-3 fatty acids have been gaining a lot of support as complementary treatments for many psychiatric and medical disorders. Fish oil is one of the richest sources of these omega-3's and now psychiatrists think they may be beneficial for children suffering from bipolar disorder and ADHD.

The Chicago Tribune featured an article last week discussing the great benefit this may have, especially now. There has been a great increase in diagnosis of both ADHD and bipolar disorder in children. And often times these children are prescribed several drugs originally intended for adults. Many argue against this because research has shown differences in course and presentation of pediatric or childhood bipolar disorder. On top of the differences in age groups, many drugs have can have serious side effects, and a natural supplement such as fish oil could come with less risk.

Janet Wozniak of Harvard's Massachusetts General Hospital, says that omega-3 supplements such as fish oil might be a feasible alternative. Though no one is suggesting that patients with bipolar disorder discontinue their medications and begin using fish oil, discussing the addition of an omega-3 supplement with your psychiatrist may be helpful. Wozniak's study was small, and more research needs to be conducted to further understand the benefits and possible risks of such a supplement in treatment for bipolar disorder. Wozniak called the results of her study "very modest", claiming that specific dosing for the most effective results still need to be examined.

"In a small, eight-week trial, Wozniak's team tested a supplement called OmegaBrite in 20 children with pediatric bipolar disease.

Fish oil naturally has about 30 percent EPA and another fatty acid called DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid. The other 70 percent is other naturally occurring fatty acids.
OmegaBrite contains 90 percent omega-3 fatty acids; 70 percent EPA - the highest EPA concentrate available in North America - 10 percent DHA and 10 percent other omega-3 fatty acids.

In the study, 10 of the 20 children experienced a 30 percent reduction in symptoms with no side effects, which showed, "manic symptoms can be rapidly reduced in youths with bipolar disorder with a safe and well-tolerated nutritional supplement," Wozniak said."

Research Article:
Omega-3 fatty acid monotherapy for pediatric bipolar disorder: a prospective open-label trial. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2007 May-Jun;17(6-7):440-7.

Can omega-3's treat ADD, bipolar disorder? The Chicago Tribune

Posted by Michelle Roberts at 11:25 AM | Comments (8)

June 22, 2007

Johnson & Johnson Press Release regarding Risperdal for Children and Adolescents with Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia

Though Psychiatrists have been prescribing Risperdal to children and adolescents for a variety of symptoms and disorders, the FDA has not yet approved of its use with these age groups for treatment of Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia. Recently Johnsons & Johnson released information that FDA approval is the process, and will soon be finalized.

"Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development, L.L.C. (J&JPRD) announced it has received an approvable letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding two supplemental New Drug Applications (sNDA) for RISPERDAL (risperidone), filed on Dec. 21, 2006. The sNDAs are for the treatment of schizophrenia in adolescents ages 13-17 years and for the short-term treatment of bipolar mania associated with bipolar I disorder in children and adolescents ages 10-17 years, respectively. The FDA has not asked for any additional studies. J&JPRD is currently reviewing the approvable letter and looks forward to finalizing the label with the agency."

Read Full Press Release:

FDA Issues Approvable Letter for RISPERDAL to Treat Adolescents with Schizophrenia and Children and Adolescents with Bipolar Mania

Posted by Michelle Roberts at 4:21 PM | Comments (0)

New Gene Identification That Provides Clues to The Differences Between Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder

A new article published in this month's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences outlines gene variations found in people suffering from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The goal of this study was to determine more specifically the differences between these two psychiatric disorders. Finding differences in genes would hopefully lead the way to new, better, treatments. Currently many drugs created for one of these disorders is also used for the other; with often less than ideal results.

The study focused on genes responsible for regulating GABA. GABA is the brains universally inhibitory neurotransmitter. It is highly concentrated in the hippocampus of the brain, which is responsible for learning, memory, and spatial processing. Previous studies have found deficits in GABA function specifically in the hippocampus portion of the brain in those suffering from either schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

The study included only 21 brains, 7 in the schizophrenia group, 7 in the bipolar group, and 7 control brains. They found 25 different genes possibly involved in the regulation, GAD67, a GABA marker in the hippocampus. Bipolar patients had 10 of the genes, schizophrenia patients had 12, and the control group showed none.

"We cannot say for sure that these are the genes that cause the illnesses, but it seems likely that in some way they may be related to susceptibility to one or the other of the disorders and that is important,'' said Francine M. Benes, MD, PhD, director of the McLean Hospital Program in Structural and Molecular Neuroscience, and lead author of the paper.

"We would like to be more specific,'' said Benes, who is also the William P. and Henry B. Test Professor in Psychiatry in the field of Neuroscience at Harvard Medical School and a member of the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science. "What we need from the standpoint of clinical care are more specific forms of therapy. In order to define more specific types of drug treatment, we need to understand these illnesses at this level of cells and molecules. The findings of this paper bring us closer to that.''

Read full article:

Regulation of the GABA cell phenotype in hippocampus of schizophrenics and bipolars. By: Francine Benes, Benjamin Lim, David Matzilevich, John Walsh, Sivan Subburaju, and Martin Minns. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 104, No. 24. June 6th 2007.

Identification of Genes Provides New Clues into the Causes of Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder

Expert Interview with Francine Benes on GABA cells and Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder

Posted by Michelle Roberts at 3:50 PM | Comments (4)

June 11, 2007

Brain Holds Clues To Bipolar Disorder

Looking 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.

Mary Phillips, M.D., professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and director of functional neuroimaging in emotional disorders at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC, discussed the emerging role of brain imaging techniques in psychiatry in general as well as in bipolar disorder. Using neuroimaging, Dr. Phillips has identified patterns of abnormalities in the neural systems that underlie emotional processing and cognitive control unique to the bipolar brain. Such abnormalities are valuable biomarkers for the illness and have the potential to help clinicians diagnose bipolar disorder earlier and more efficiently. Dr. Phillips also presented data illustrating how imaging can be used to identify biomarkers and how these markers can help clinicians determine which patients will respond best to certain treatments. Neuroimaging also can help predict which patients of those who are genetically predisposed to bipolar disorder will develop symptoms of the disease.

Held every two years, the International Conference on Bipolar Disorder is the only venue in the world devoted exclusively to highlighting new research on bipolar disorder. The Seventh Conference is being held June 7 to 9 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 UPMC.

Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

The results from 7 of their disease studies are being published this week in the journals Nature and Nature Genetics.

Read the BBC News Story: Scientists make bipolar gene find

Read the New York Times Story: Researchers Detect Variations in DNA That Underlie Seven Common Diseases (free registration required)

Read the Welcome Trust Press Release: Largest ever study of genetics of common diseases: Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium and genetics of seven common diseases

Original Source Abstract: Genome-wide association study of 14,000 cases of seven common diseases and 3,000 shared controls (Nature, Vol 447, 7 June 2007)

Read the MDF The BiPolar Organisation Article: New Partnership with Leading Bipolar Disorder Research Professor

Posted by szadmin at 7:52 PM | Comments (5)