NARSAD Grant-Funded Research Furthers Understanding of Causes of Bipolar Disorder

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NARSAD Grantee Gerome Breen, Ph.D. at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, expert on bipolar disorder
Gerome Breen, Ph.D.

NARSAD Grantee Gerome Breen, Ph.D. and research team at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London have found genetic variants involved in several neural signaling pathways in the brain that may cause bipolar disorder.

The researchers used a novel and integrative approach to probe the biology of bipolar disorder to better understand what may lead to the development of the illness. The researchers combined the results of three genome-wide association studies (GWAS), a brain gene-expression study and data from protein databases (the Human Protein Reference Database).

Dr. Breen, the senior author of the study, was supported by a 2007 NARSAD Young Investigator Grant. He said, "Our study provides some of the first evidence to show the biochemical and developmental processes involved in causing risk for developing this life-long and costly illness. We have highlighted potential new avenues for new drug treatments and intervention." The results of the study were published August 15th in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

Foundation Scientific Council Member John H. Krystal, M.D., Editor of Biological Psychiatry, said "none of our research approaches provides us with sufficient information, by itself, to understand the neurobiology of psychiatric disorders. This innovative paper wrestles with this challenge in a creative way that helps us to move forward in thinking about the neurobiology of bipolar disorder."

Read more about Dr. Breen and his Team's Research on Bipolar Disorder

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Please note that researchers cannot give specific recommendations or advice about treatment; diagnosis and treatment are complex and highly individualized processes that require comprehensive face-to- face assessment. Please visit our "Ask an Expert" section to see a list of Q & A with NARSAD Grantees.
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