What is the origin of bipolar disorder? Discover the advances of science to discover the cause of the problem.
Uncovering the cause of bipolar disorder is one of the great challenges of science and medicine. A cause that could be closer to being unveiled thanks to the results of research that has investigated the effects of lithium treatment for bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder is a disease of the brain that causes sudden and intense changes of mood and behavior. The person with bipolar disorder goes from feeling very happy and active (manic episodes) to extremely depressed (depressive episodes).
What Causes Bipolar Disorder?
So far research has pointed to several factors that may contribute to bipolar disorder, such as genes or abnormality in brain structure and function. However, there is something else, a malfunction of a molecule that intervenes in the regulation of neural networks of the brain. This is what the study carried out by researchers from the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute of California in collaboration with Harvard University, and published by the National Academy of Sciences of the United States.
Lithium Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder, for now, has no cure, but the treatments help to control the symptoms. One of these is the treatment with lithium that has proven to be effective. And that has been what aroused the curiosity of the researchers to inquire into the effect of the lithium in the brain.
The study used neurons from stem cells that had previously been created in the laboratory from adult cells and from patients who had been treated with lithium. The researchers analyzed how lithium acted on the activity of neurons, controlling emotion and inhibition. The same results were obtained when testing in samples of brains from deceased patients or in the observation of living neurons.
The results that can be opened new ways of research to improve the diagnosis and the current treatments. Uncovering the cause of bipolar disorder would provide essential data for detection before the appearance of the first episodes.