Bipolar Disorder

ScienceDaily (July 21, 2007) — People with bipolar disorder — or manic depression — suffer from an accelerated shrinking of their brain, researchers at the University of Edinburgh have found.

The study shows for the first time that bipolar disorder — a condition characterised by periods of depression and periods of mania — is associated with a reduction in brain tissue and proves that the changes get progressively worse with each relapse.

This discovery has implications not only for the way we research the disease, but may also impact the way this condition is treated.

The findings, published in the Journal of Biological Psychiatry, show that the loss of grey matter tissue is concentrated in areas of the brain which control memory, face recognition and co-ordination — namely the hippocampus, fusiform and cerebellum respectively.

Dr. Andrew McIntosh, senior lecturer in psychiatry and lead researcher, said: “For the first time, we have shown that as people with bipolar disorder get older, a small amount of tissue is lost in parts of the brain that are associated with memory and the coordination of thoughts and actions. The amount of brain tissue that’s lost is greater in people with multiple episodes of illness and is associated with a decline in some areas of mental ability.

“Although we do no yet know the cause of this brain shrinkage, it may be that repeated episodes of illness harm the brain and lead to the decline. Another possibility is that the brain changes are caused by stress or genetic factors, which tend to lead both to more frequent illness episodes and to greater brain loss. Further research will be required.”

Bipolar disorder, in its severe form, is a serious mental illness which affects around half a million people in the UK alone. When people have mania they are typically elated, overactive and need less sleep. They may also suffer from delusions or hallucinations, and are at significant risk of suicide. Once someone has an episode of bipolar disorder, the condition tends to be life long.

This work is supported by the Sackler Foundation, Health Foundation and by the UK Medical Research Council. Science Digest. Read more.

Magnetic Responance Test for BiPolar

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).

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), approximately 2.3 million Americans have bipolar disorder. Left untreated, bipolar episodes typically become more frequent and more resistant to change through medication. Each year, approximately 30,000 depressed individuals commit suicide, according to NIMH.

5HTP for bipolar

The word seems to be: yes! I am a bipolar 25-year-old who also has ADD and have been taking 5-HTP (100 mg) before bedtime for about 3 weeks. At first I noticed only a decreased sense of anxiety during the day, as well as the fact that I slept like a rock: not to mention a little more “smoothness” in my moods. As of today I have upped the dosage to 100 mg, 3 x a day, and so far I have noticed a sense of calm and general clear-headedness the equal of which I have not felt in some time.From what I have read, it takes up to two to three weeks for any change in dosage to reach its full effect. So we’ll just have to wait around and see. Also: I am taking the 5-HTP in conjunction with Lithium, and research is showing that the two can complement each other. Taking 5-HTP may even make it possible for a person to reduce their Lithium dosage, which many bipolars, I think, would be very happy to hear. Regardless of whether one is on a mood stabilizer, though, 5-HTP is worth a shot.

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.

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  1. 8.

    Who knows what’s the truth about all of this. I have to find out. I was an RN and working even with fragile bipolar which I take 4 psychotropic meds to bring me to some level of normalcy at some time during a day. I suffered a brain aneurysm in December of 2007, actually on Christmas eve and had a very traumatic experience in the hospital. The neurosurgeon did not order my psychotropics and I went a week without them during which time I stayed in ER holding due to no beds available and recovery room x 3 days due to no beds available. For the first time in my life I suffered hallucinations during recovery immediately after the surgery and again when I was taken from recovery to a room on the neuro floor. I also suffered the worst paranoia I have ever had and believed the hospital staff were trying to kill me. I had developed a massive pneumonia during recovery, which was not discovered by nursing personnel or my neurosurgeon’s attending physician. My neurosurgeon had plans to send me home from recovery, but I insisted on staying another night since I felt like shit and had experienced hallucinations which traumatized me severely. My supervisor from work called me and noticed my shortness of breath over the phone. She in turn contacted a pulmonologist that we both knew and he came to the hospital to evaluate me. He sent me to CT and the scan revealed severe pneumonia in my right lower lobe. I was breathing at 53% oxogenation according to my arterial blood gas report. My bipolar disorder took a real nose-dive and I have still not recovered to have even one day without a major depressive episode. My psychiatrist has changed my meds in attempts to alleviate the symptoms with very minimal positive change in my mood swings. I applied for and have been receiving disability payments from the long term disability company affiliated with my previous employer, but they are now threatening to stop my disability payments because they only pay 24 months for a mental illness diagnosis. I am now burdened with the task of proving there is a biological and genetic cause for bipolar disorder and the fact that stress and trauma can make it significantly worse. Also that some people do not respond to typical treatment with medications and thus have to suffer the symptoms anyway. Since the surgery I have continued to have vivid hallucinations – auditory, visual, and tactical which are very stressful and alarming. My memory and concentration are failing. I often cannot go to sleep and stay up all night at least 2 to three nights a month. I stay up until 3:00 am most of the time and if I’m lucky I will go to sleep around 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. Since my surgery I have gained about 32 pounds and even before the surgery I would eat for comfort and have been fighting weight problems for years. I have been irritable and had angry outburst which came from nowhere and surprised and frightened my family. I have had difficulty with relationships with others at my job, have been fired twice, and written up for not following policy regarding my personal life and for angry outburst at co-workers. I am down to 2 friends who are both nurses and empathize with me because they know someone within their family with bipolar or have worked on a psychiatric ward. Besides the fact that I have bipolar, I also have htn, gerd, hypercholesteremia, s/p brain aneurysm with residual anisocoria with third nerve palsy, morton’s neuroma, polyarthritis, anal fissure, hemorrhoids, tinnitus with 20% hearing loss in my left ear and hiatal hernia. I have had 2 c-sections performed by a doctor who cut me so bad I will have to have surgery to correct this deformity. Needless to say, I have a huge problem with body image.

    This all said, I am in need of certain proof that bipolar disorder is physically and biologically based. I need support from scientist who believe this and are willing to testify in a court of law there is evidence to support this. Is there anyone out there willing to help me? I am willing to undergo any test to help prove my case and help provide evidence for others who like me cannot work due to non-relenting symptoms of bipolar disorder even with treatment. Please reply only if you have any HELPFUL advice or knowledge of who to contact.

    Penny Martinez said this on Your comment is awaiting moderation. October 18, 2009 at 7:15 pm | Reply

    Leave a Reply

  2. Hello, I am no scientist, yet, I’ve cared for those with, Parkinson’s disease, Frederick’s Ataxia, Head Trauma, Epilepsy, Tumors of the Brain(Benign & Malignant, etc. I, since I have Bipolar Disorder, and try to educate myself. Think, even addiction, it’s all a Neurochemical event. Sorry, I was a home health aide in a hospice, directed an Alzheimer’s Unit & worked as a mental health tech. in a Psych hospital. I am not even a certified aide in the USofA. You have my support & empathy. I am on disability for my, Bipolar Disorder, my Dad & my Brother have it as well. Dad, he aged into the regualar SS, system. Take care & best wishes on your quest for caring and some fire in the belly! You’ll need the latter bit.

  3. ah i don’t even believe that bipolar exists: it is imo just the latest label being pushed by bigpharma… i’d probably be bipolar if i went in for a re-diagnosis! I do a lot of research on the underlying raisons d’etre of ‘mental’ or emotional conditions and right now i am looking into decreased levels of oxycotin, and GABA… higher levels of awareness, sensitivity which are a precursor in the evolutinary cycle to autism… what drugs are you on? a lot the side effects you mention are related to meds…. also the disturbances in your natural circadian rhythms can account for many of these symptoms… I would suggest working with rebuilding a new neural pathway in your brain – epigenesis … and read some Oliver Sachs as well as Doidge … Ivengar Yoga, mindful meditation and some mega mega work with a naturopath for healing your whole body. ALso, auricular acupuncture. You are not disAbled. you are in disEquilibrium

  4. Although I have not been officially dianosed yet (currrently being evaluated) I’m a 36 year old male who has struggled with the symptoms of bi-polar for years. I also suffer from sever anxiety… Which I dealt with in the past using valium which I found really helpfull! Since returning to the UK (lived in hong kong for 6 years) I can’t get valium & I’m a wreck! Really hoping 5-HTP can make a difference for me as I’m @ my wits end & I’m pretty much destroying my relationship.

  5. I have produced a new documentary about bipolar disorder. It’s a professional film that will entertain and inform blog viewers about the latest and greatest science. It includes two emotive scenes designed to give the viewer a glimpse of the thoughts and feelings that accompany bipolar disorder. This is a non-profit project with no commercial, religious or political interest. It is not affiliated with any organization and has no agenda other than increasing awareness and improving education about bipolar disorder:

    See the video description or contact me for more information.

    Dan Hereford
    Werke Horse
    Beavercreek, OH USA

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