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October 19, 2009

Dramatic increase in bipolar depression and depression in colleges

Following last Friday's post (Initial onset of Bipolar during College years), I heard an interesting NPR story today on "Morning Edition." The story focused on students at Stanford University who are taking the initiative to help educate other students about the prevalence of depression and bipolar depression in colleges across the United States. These students have created theatrical productions which touch upon social issues including the wide prevalence of mental illness on college campuses. Their intended audience: patients who may be reticent to accept or discuss their illness and people in dorm rooms who often unknowingly create hostile environments for Read more...
Posted by Michael Lane at 3:13 PM | Comments (4)

October 16, 2009

Initial onset of Bipolar during College years

This recent article caught my attention. It discusses the notion that depression in young college students can begin to manifest itself just weeks after school starts; at that time, the "the honeymoon period" is over and the ongoing stress of pursuing academic performance kicks in. Bipolar patients often experience a first depression during college. The first onset of a manic or depressed mood characteristic of bipolar disorder usually occurs during the late teens and early 20's; at least half of all cases start before age 25* Attending college offers numerous triggers to set off a bad mood. The difference Read more...
Posted by Michael Lane at 2:54 PM | Comments (5)

December 11, 2007

Impaired Emotional Perception in Bipolar Patients

We recently covered a study which found that children suffering from bipolar disorder are more likely to misread facial expressions and experience certain moods such as irritability and excessive happiness. Now a new study, published in last month's issue of The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, finds that the adults suffering from bipolar disorder are also prone to impaired emotional perception. For the study, 19 patients suffering from bipolar disorder I and in remission were compared to 22 healthy individuals (both groups were matched for age, gender, education, etc.) . The participants were all given an Affective Prosody Test Read more...
Posted by szwriter at 2:01 PM | Comments (7)

November 28, 2007

New Database to Help Specify Genes Linked to Bipolar Disorder

Johns Hopkins University, Department of Psychiatry and the National Institute of Mental Health have teamed together to create a new, innovative and free database, which researchers are saying is going to increase their ability to pinpoint genes linked to bipolar disorder. The database, called The Bipolar Disorder Phenome Database, is revolutionary in its ability to offer "...detailed descriptions of symptoms and course of disease on more than 5,000 people with bipolar (disorder)..." Because DNA samples are available for this group, the database will let researchers correlate specific symptoms with sequences of genetic material. The new meant to complement the Read more...
Posted by szwriter at 11:52 AM | Comments (4)

November 27, 2007

New Study on Children With Bipolar Disorder & Their Response to Facial Expressions

As we've covered in the past, children with bipolar disorder often misread facial expressions. Now new research further supports this finding: Children with bipolar disorder respond differently to facial expressions than children without psychiatric disorders, according to a new study led by a Bradley Hospital researcher. These findings provide additional insight into the neurobiology of pediatric bipolar disorder. "Although we know a great deal clinically about bipolar disorder in kids, our understanding of its neurobiology is quite limited, making it difficult to design targeted treatments," said lead author Daniel P. Dickstein, M.D., director of the pediatric mood, imaging and neurodevelopment Read more...
Posted by szwriter at 1:08 PM | Comments (8)

August 20, 2007

Neuroimaging: A Tool for Diagnosis and Treatment of Bipolar Disorder

The Clinical Psychiatry News featured an article on "neuroimaging as tool for diagnosis, treatment in sight: identifying bipolar disorder is a priority". Dr. Mary Philips, a professor of psychiatry and director of the functional neuroimaging program, has recently supported that neuroimaging may soon be a diagnostic and treatment tool for mood disorders including bipolar disorder. She discussed this developing technology at the Seventh International Conference on Bipolar Disorder. fMRI's (functional magnetic resonance imaging) have long been used in research of mental illness, but not as often in clinical or diagnostic situations because its still considered "experimental"--but this may change soon. Read more...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 12:46 PM | Comments (2)

May 22, 2007

Is Childhood Bipolar Disorder Overdiagnosed in the US?

New Scientist magazine has an indepth article that covers the issue of the increasing tendency for atypical American children to be diagnosed with 'juvenile bipolar disorder'. The article suggests that young children are being increasingly diagnosed with bipolar disorder in the US, despite the fact that there is limited evidence for its validity and disagreement about its symptoms. The diagnosis of childhood bipolar disorder is - other experts have noted - has many issues associated with it. Part of the issue is that children often are not able to report their thoughts and emotions adequately, and equally importantly there are Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 9:27 AM | Comments (0)

December 17, 2006

Health Insurance Company Offering First Ever Bipolar Disease Management Program

Aetna Behavioral Health, a leading diversified health care benefits companies, introduces the industry first Bipolar Disease Management Program. This voluntary program plans to better treat clients suffering with bipolar disorder by giving information and care management; all in hopes of increasing medication and treatment adherence, and in turn reducing relapse. Read more...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 11:43 AM | Comments (13)

July 26, 2006

New UK Guidelines for Diagnosis and Treatment of Bipolar Disorder set by NICE

New guidelines in UK (England) set to raise awareness and improve identification, diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder in children and adults. "The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health have today (26 July) launched a clinical guideline on the identification, treatment and management of bipolar disorder in children and adults. Bipolar disorder (formerly known as manic depression) is a serious mental health condition characterized by the presence of episodes of mania and depression. During a manic episode, the person usually has feelings of elation, irritability, or both. They may also Read more...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 11:04 AM | Comments (2)

October 21, 2005

Emotional impairment linked to cognitive deficits in bipolar children

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago used functional brain imaging to establish a link between emotional impairment and poor cognition in children with bipolar disorder. "This study is very exciting because it shows that negative emotions affect cognition differently than positive emotions in these kids," said Dr. Mani Pavuluri, associate professor of psychiatry at UIC's Institute for Juvenile Research and the Center for Cognitive Medicine, and lead author of the study. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, Pavuluri and her colleagues examined the brain activity of teens while they were performing certain mental tasks. The researchers scanned the brains Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 2:49 PM | Comments (1)

October 20, 2005

Bipolar Disorder Information and Treatment Presentations

As we covered back in August this past summer, there was an excellent public education seminar held at Stanford University (California) that we reported on. Today we are making available on the Internet the presentations on bipolar disorder that were made that day. There were two presentations. Click on the links to get directly to the presentation: Differential Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia - This presentation talks about how in the older traditional mode of thinking psychiatrists used to describe these brain disorders as fixed categories. The thinking now is that the "boarders" to these disease classifications are now Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 2:47 PM | Comments (6)

September 25, 2005

Nightmares & Night Terrors in Bipolar Disorder

Nightmares and night terrors are a commonly reported symptom of bipolar disorder. Those with bipolar disorder often have nightmares filled with death and injury themes, which can be especially frightening for children with bipolar disorder. Children seem to suffer more from nightmares as well as night terrors than their adult counterparts. "Night terrors and such conditions as sleepwalking, restless leg syndrome, bruxism (teeth grinding) make up a group of arousal disorders called parasomnias. Night terrors do not occur during REM sleep and are not dreams, although they have nightmarish elements. They occur instead either during deep sleep or in a Read more...
Posted by at 7:26 PM | Comments (5)

September 20, 2005

Relatives' Criticism Increases Bipolar Severity

Getting upset due to the criticism of relatives and close friends apparently increases the severity of the symptoms of bipolar disorder. High levels of expressed emotion from those close to the person with bipolar disorder can have adverse effects on their course of illness. Researchers used expressed emotion (EE) levels to predict the course of illness over 1 year. 360 individuals with bipolar disorder took a four-item Perceived Criticism Scale (PCS) for 1 or more of their close relatives or friends. They were then monitored over 1 year for symptoms of mania and depression, as well as the amount of Read more...
Posted by at 11:39 AM | Comments (9)

September 19, 2005

Environmental Stressors Increase Suicide Risk

Environmental stressors increase the risk of suicide and attempted suicide in those suffering from bipolar disorder. Researchers looked at 648 outpatients who had either bipolar I or II disorder. They took a survey that looked at their background, their illness' background, and their past suicide attempts. Some were also followed up on their mood ratings, depressive symptoms, manic symptoms, and their ability to function. "In all, 34% of the cohort had attempted suicide. After excluding less serious suicide attempts (ie, those that did not require medical attention) and adjusting for known risk factors, Leverich et al identified five factors that Read more...
Posted by at 4:58 PM | Comments (1)

Early Treatment Prevents Chronic Bipolar Disorder

Those who develop bipolar disorder at a younger age tend to have a more difficult form of the illness. But adolescents and young adults do not necessarily develop chronic bipolar disorder. Their risk of developing a chronic case lowers if they receive an early diagnosis and treatment. Researchers noted that it was significantly easier to treat those who had less than three episodes prior to beginning treatment. The more episodes that one has had before treatment, the more difficult it is to treat. The participants in the study were 42 people with bipolar disorder who were taking part in the Read more...
Posted by at 4:03 PM | Comments (4)

September 13, 2005

Childhood Mania is Chronic & Severe

Children with bipolar disorder tend to have chronic episodes of mania, and their episodes are usually for long periods of time. Researchers developed a 4-year longitudinal study that examined the history of mania in 86 children with bipolar disorder. The children were at an average age of 10.8 years and were checked up on at 6, 12, 18, 24, 36, and 48 months. All of those in the study suffered from bipolar I disorder, with either manic or mixed episodes. To qualify for the study they also had to have one or more symptom of grandiosity and or elation; this Read more...
Posted by at 1:43 PM | Comments (2)

Complicated Grief in Bipolar Patients

Those with bipolar disorder commonly suffer from complicated or traumatic grief which only puts more of a burden upon them. "Although complicated grief is not yet a formal psychiatric diagnosis, there is growing consensus about its core elements, which include unrelenting grief persisting for 6 months or more after loss, with symptoms of separation distress, traumatic distress, and difficulty adapting to the loss" (PsychiatryMatters.MD). The participants in the study were 120 individuals with bipolar disorder that were taking part in the Systematic Treatment Enhancement for Bipolar Disorder study. They found that 103 of them (86%) reported having a lifetime history Read more...
Posted by at 12:49 PM | Comments (1)

September 8, 2005

Bipolar I Disorder Mostly Depressive

Bipolar I disorder is characterized by full manic episodes and moderate to mild depression. But a new study shows that depression predominates in bipolar I disorder, in terms of the amount of time that one is in either phase. Researchers used information from 146 individuals with bipolar I disorder. They had all took part in the National Institute of Mental Health Collaborative Depression study between 1978 and 1981. They followed up on patients for an average of 12.8 years, during which they were ill (dealing with symptoms of the disorder) nearly half of the time. "Furthermore, the occurrence of depressive Read more...
Posted by at 1:06 PM | Comments (4)

September 7, 2005

Agitated Depression in Bipolar I Disorder

A new study suggests that agitated depression afflicts one fifth of those with bipolar I disorder. "Mario Maj and colleagues from the University of Naples studied all patients with bipolar I disorder presenting to the psychiatric department who fulfilled Research Diagnostic Criteria for agitated depression. These 61 patients were compared with 61 bipolar I patients with non-agitated depression, and 61 bipolar I patients with an index episode of mania" ( Every 2 months the participants were tested on the Comprehensive Psychopathological Rating Scale (CPRS) and the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia. There were 22 men and 39 women with Read more...
Posted by at 12:57 PM | Comments (5)

September 6, 2005

Attention & Memory in Bipolar Disorder

A report published in the September issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics by a group of investigators of the University of Barcelona suggests that cognitive deficits may occur in bipolar disorder. In clinical practice, bipolar patients complain of cognitive deficits such as attentional or memory disturbances. The main aim of this study was to determine whether subjective cognitive complaints were associated with objective neuropsychological impairments. Sixty euthymic bipolar patients were assessed through a neuropsychological battery. A structured clinical interview was used to determine subjective cognitive complaints in patients. Thirty healthy controls were also included in the study in order to compare Read more...
Posted by at 12:42 PM | Comments (1)

September 4, 2005

Accurate Screening of Bipolar Disorder

The British Journal of General Practice (BJGP) has published an editorial paper highlighting the vital role GPs play in distinguishing between unipolar and bipolar disorder and treating it accordingly. Authors from the University of Melbourne, say there is increasing evidence that treating bipolar patients with unipolar therapy may be harmful to patients. According to the authors, new research suggests that up to 30 per cent of patients presenting with depression in primary care are diagnosed with bipolar disorder. GPs are often the first clinicians to screen for bipolar disorder and manage its initial treatment. However, they say patients presenting with Read more...
Posted by at 12:04 PM | Comments (4)

August 20, 2005

Cognitive Impairment Common in Bipolar Disorder

Cognitive impairment is something that is common in those suffering from bipolar disorder, but apparently it is not reported in many of the cases in which it is apparent. Some of the potential reasons for it not being reported were: inability to notice it in oneself, trying to hide them, or "subthreshold affective symptoms." 37 patients with bipolar disorder participated in the study. "More than 75% of the patients, even those who were affectively nonsyndromal, displayed some cognitive deficits, most notably in verbal learning and memory. The results showed that the patients' self-reports of impairment did not reliably predict objective Read more...
Posted by at 1:01 PM | Comments (2)

August 19, 2005

Misdiagnosing Narcissism-Bipolar I Disorder

Bipolar patients in the manic phase exhibit many of the signs and symptoms of pathological narcissism - hyperactivity, self-centeredness, lack of empathy, and control freakery. During this recurring chapter of the disease, the patient is euphoric, has grandiose fantasies, spins unrealistic schemes, and has frequent rage attacks (is irritable) if her or his wishes and plans are (inevitably) frustrated. The manic phases of the Bipolar Disorder, however, are limited in time - NPD is not. Furthermore, the mania is followed by - usually protracted - depressive episodes. The narcissist is also frequently dysphoric. But whereas the Bipolar sinks into deep Read more...
Posted by at 12:00 PM | Comments (3)

August 18, 2005

Concurrent Alcohol Abuse: Age of Onset Influences Course

Bipolar disorder often co-occurs with a substance abuse disorder, most commonly alcohol abuse. Alcohol abuse in bipolar patients is often associated with a bad outcome for the course of the illness. Researchers decided to look at the age of onset for this co-occuring disorder to see if/how that influenced the course of the illness. The participants in the study were 33 people with bipolar disorder who developed an alcohol abuse problem after their bipolar diagnosis and 27 people whose alcohol abuse problems started before their bipolar disorder diagnosis. There were 83 people with bipolar disorder who did not have an Read more...
Posted by at 12:29 PM | Comments (3)

August 15, 2005

Psychiatric Disorders Delay Cancer Diagnosis

Patients with psychiatric disorders are diagnosed with esophageal cancer much later and at a more advanced stage than patients with no psychiatric diagnosis, according to a study conducted by researchers in the Oregon Health & Science University Digestive Health Center. The finding is significant, according to the study's principal investigator, Blair Jobe, M.D., because life and death for cancer patients is all about early detection and intervention. This study was prompted by observations made in Jobe's clinical practice. He and colleagues wished to determine whether psychiatric illness represented an independent risk factor for delay in diagnosis and advanced disease at Read more...
Posted by at 12:44 PM | Comments (8)

July 10, 2005

Male Depression Comes With Stigma

Depression in males is something that often comes with an unnecessary amount of shame attached to it. Sadly, this shame alone can often cause men to commit suicide instead of getting the help needed to deal with their feelings. Although more women attempt suicide, more men actually carry it out, leading to men's suicide rates to be four times higher than females. "Depression can even increase the risk of coronary heart disease, and though the risk of contracting the disease itself is the same for men and women, more men die as a result. The U.S. National Institute of Mental Read more...
Posted by at 2:31 PM | Comments (4)

July 7, 2005

New Gene-Scanning Technique

A team out of the University of Southampton recently announced that they have successfully applied a cost-effective technique to scan the human genome for genetic mutations. The scanning device, meltMADGE, "combines thermal ramp electrophoresis with microplate array diagonal gel electrophoresis." A team of British medical researchers used meltMADGE to scan the genes of about 10,000 individuals for mutations associated with cholesterol blood levels. According to the original article in Science Daily: "This is the first time that it has been possible to find out whether there may be unknown rare genetic variations in the population which may cause mild forms Read more...
Posted by julia.d at 8:03 PM | Comments (0)

July 1, 2005

Alcohol Abuse Accompanies Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is often accompanied with a substance abuse disorder, very often it is alcohol abuse. Why these two disorders accompany one another has not been well researched, although there are several hypotheses as to why they are co morbid. Five of the most common theories were stated in this clinical update. "(1) "kindling," or the neuronal sensitization created by one condition increasing susceptibility to the other; (2) a common genetic pathway for alcoholism and mood instability, resulting in shared neurochemical pathways that become dysfunctional; (3) long-term substance abuse, which may in fact cause bipolar disorder, although there is no Read more...
Posted by at 2:36 PM | Comments (2)

June 29, 2005

Is Unipolar Part Bipolar?

Unipolar depression has long been looked at as a separate form of depression than bipolar disorder. But recent studies have shown that those who have unipolar depression often have symptoms that are more than just unipolar. Depending on the criteria used, some of those who have unipolar depression could be considered to have bipolar symptoms. "Dr Angst and colleagues used three criteria for bipolar II, the DSM-IV (which mandates at least three hypomanic symptoms, four if irritable, over at lest four days), a "strict" Zurich criteria (which lowered the symptom threshold to three over one day) and a "broad" criteria Read more...
Posted by at 10:15 AM | Comments (3)

Overdiagnosis among Minorities

A study of one of the nation's largest databases of psychiatric cases reveals that cultural factors may be contributing to a much higher rate of psychiatric diagnoses among ethnic minorities. For example, scientist John Zeber found that blacks in the United States were more than four times as likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, and Hispanics were more than three times as likely, despite the fact that schizophrenia appears to affect all ethnic groups at the same rate. Zeber reports that his findings could not be explained by differences in wealth, drug addiction, or tendency to seek treatment at different Read more...
Posted by julia.d at 9:05 AM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2005

Confidential On-line Diagnosis

May is Mental Health Month, and Butler Hospital will offer free online mental-health screenings on its Web site all month. Log on to to the Online mental health screening Tests for depression, generalized anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 4:25 PM | Comments (1)

April 25, 2005

Brain Scans for Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis

Brain Scans May Soon Be Used for Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis A recent presentation by John D. Port, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America suggests that Magnetic resonance spectroscopy may be used in the near future to diagnose bipolar disorder because of the distinct differences and abnormalities in the brain chemistry of patients with bipolar disorder. In the presentation, Dr. Port suggested: "We hope to eventually refine this into a clinically useful test that could shave years off a patient's time to diagnosis," Physicians "clearly [need] a tool Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 10:12 PM | Comments (1)

February 18, 2005

Children Overdiagnosed with BP

The Washington Post interviewed a dozen psychiatrists and child psychologists for a February 15 story on child diagnosis of bipolar disorder. The story suggest that there have been sharp increases in child diagnosis of bipolar disorder during the past decade. As a result, some preschoolers barely out of diapers are being treated for bipolar disorder with powerful drugs, few of which have been tested in children. An associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Washington, Jon McClellan, thinks there may be a rush to diagnose kids as a result of bipolar disorder's status as a cultural phenomenon. In follow-on Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 4:52 PM | Comments (0)

December 9, 2004

New Bipolar Diagnosis Tool

Imaging Tool May Help Physicians Diagnose Bipolar Disorder CHICAGO (November 30, 2004) -- Magnetic resonance (MR) spectroscopy may prove to be the definitive diagnostic test for bipolar disorder, a serious brain illness characterized by an alternating pattern of extreme emotional highs and lows, according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). Using MR spectroscopy of the brain, researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., identified significant differences between the brain chemistries of people with and without bipolar disorder. href="" "The psychiatric community clearly needs a tool to help diagnose Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 5:56 AM | Comments (1)

October 15, 2004

Bipolar people Innactive

Source: University of Indiana Indiana University professors focus on daily lives of people with serious mental health conditions Study participants surprisingly inactive BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A study by two Indiana University Bloomington professors in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation is beginning to suggest how people with severe and persistent mental illnesses (SPMI) live their everyday lives. SPMI is a condition in which disorders such as bipolar disorder and, particularly, schizophrenia affect daily living. Building upon studies suggesting that people with SPMI fare better in developing countries than in the United States, associate professors Bryan McCormick, in the Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 7:28 AM | Comments (2)

October 1, 2004

British Study on Psychosis and Bipolar Mania

A new study published in the October issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry suggests that more than one in 20 people have experienced psychotic symptoms such as paranoid thoughts or hallucinations, research revealed today. A study of 8,580 people found that 5.5% had experienced one or more of the five psychotic symptoms measured, including feeling their thoughts were being interfered with or suffering strange experiences. The researchers, from King's College London, found that psychotic symptoms were linked to drug and alcohol dependence, recent stressful life events and lower intellectual ability. In terms of drug dependence, they concluded that the Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 8:08 AM | Comments (0)