Understanding Bipolar Disorder through Research

  $3,980 raised to date!  Join us in support of bipolar research.    

Bipolar Research Project Spotlight

December 14, 2018

Christian P. Zeni, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, researches risk factors and characteristics of children who have parents with bipolar disorder. Dr. Zeni talks about looking into clinical characteristics that can tell us which children can develop bipolar disorder, or not, later in life. #ManyFacesofUTHealth #BehavioralHealth

Giving thanks by giving back

November 27, 2018

In this season of giving, please consider making a donation in support of bipolar disorder research as part of the #GivingTuesday movement - a national celebration of giving.

 

Be a part of something greater on this #GivingTuesday and help us to continue developing research that allows us to shine a light and strengthen the overall understanding of Bipolar Disorder, a commonly misunderstood condition.

 

Your gift will make an impact!

 

 

Together, we can make this possible!

November 17, 2018

Thank you for being a part of our incredible journey to bring Understanding Bipolar Disorder through Research project to life. We are excited to extend the campaign as we continue to raise funds for this meaningful cause throughout the year.

 

With your support we will be able to provide more studies that could clarify the relationship between biomarkers and brain alterations at different phases of the disease, providing knowledge of why some patients will develop a more severe and debilitating course and others do not.

 

Please continue to share our mission with family, friends and those in our community.

We are grateful for your support! Thank you!

Researchers identify that children and adolescents with BD had smaller volumes in specific parts of the brain’s hippocampus

November 07, 2018

In line with the memory deficits observed in BD patients, hippocampal volume is heavily associated with several mood disorders and has been reported as a potential metric to diagnose and track progression of BD.

To investigate subfield volumes in the pediatric population, researchers at the UTHealth Center of Excellence on Mood Disorders acquired magnetic resonance imaging scans of 141 children and adolescents with bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder and healthy controls. Pediatric patients with bipolar disorder were found to have significantly smaller volumes in certain subfields of the hippocampus compared to healthy individuals, according to the study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research. Results indicated deficits in the cornu ammonis (CA1 and CA4) and right subiculum, as well as the bilateral ganule cell layer, molecular layer and hippocampal tails.

Overall, the findings from this cross-sectional study provide evidence for specific hippocampal subfield volume differences in children and adolescents with BD compared to healthy controls, suggesting impaired neurogenesis and neural connectivity as well as progressive reductions with increased illness duration.

There is a lot more to be done! To help elucidate a causal relationship between illness duration and hippocampal subfield volumes, longitudinal studies must be conducted. Our ultimate goal is to find ways to prevent the onset of illness in these children and adolescents, and your help will help get there faster.

Researchers pinpoint area of brain linked to bipolar disorder​

October 31, 2018

A volume decrease in specific parts of the brain’s hippocampus – long identified as a hub of mood and memory processing – was linked to bipolar disorder in a study led by our research group. The research was published in Molecular Psychiatry.

Our research team used a combination of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and a state-of-the-art segmentation approach to discover differences in the volumes of subfields of the hippocampus, a seahorse-shaped region in the brain. Subjects with bipolar disorder were compared to healthy subjects and subjects with major depressive disorder.

We found that subjects with bipolar disorder had reduced volumes in subfield 4 of the cornu ammonis (CA), two cellular layers and the tail portion of hippocampus. The reduction was more severe in patients with bipolar I disorder than other mood disorders investigated.

Further, in patients with bipolar I disorder, the volumes of certain areas such as the right CA1 decreased as the illness duration increased. Volumes of other CA areas and hippocampal tail were more reduced in subjects who had more manic episodes.

In conclusion, these results indicated that among the mood disorders the hippocampal subfields were more affected in BD-I compared with BD-II and MDD, and manic episodes had focused progressive effect on the CA2/3 and CA4 and hippocampal tail.

 

Please continue to share our mission with family, friends and those in our community.

We are grateful for your support! Thank you!

 

 

 

So excited to fill you in!

October 25, 2018

Thanks so much for supporting our campaign! You helped us raise 3,560.00 in 23 days! Your donation helped us reach our first key milestone in this campaign.

 

There are currently 22 days left in campaign and we still need to raise $21,440 of $25,000 that will allow us to study the relationship between biomarkers and alterations in the central nervous system in Bipolar Disorder patients.

 

Please remember that you can make a difference by sharing this important research with others. You will find buttons on our homepage that allows you to quickly and easily share to Facebook and Twitter. Together as a team, our efforts can help advance our understanding of bipolar disorder and improve the lives of patients.

 

Thank you for everything!

Impacting more lives with your help

October 18, 2018

According to our previous study published in Translational Psychiatry, a Nature Publishing Group journal, bipolar disorder may involve accelerated epigenetic aging, which could explain why persons with the disorder are more likely to have – and die from – age-related diseases.  

While chronological age is measured in the amount of time a person has been alive, ‘epigenetic age’ measures molecular markers of chemical modifications to DNA. In this study we aimed to understand the biology of what is driving the accelerated aging in BD patients.

Using blood samples, our researchers compared 22 patients with bipolar disorder, 16 siblings of bipolar patients, and 20 healthy controls. Our results found that while older bipolar disorder patients had significantly accelerated epigenetic aging compared to controls, no difference was found in younger patients.

In addition, we also reported that patients present higher levels of mitochondrial DNA copy number, another marker of aging, and that this significantly correlated with the accelerated epigenetic aging. We believe that a difference was not detected in younger patients because they have not had as much exposure to stressful events, and this gave us a hint that the cumulative chronic exposure to stress would relate to accelerated aging.

Studies like this are important because they inform of the neurobiological basis of bipolar disorder and can provide targets for the development of novel and more efficacious treatments.

Thank you! We could not be doing this without you.

October 15, 2018

Despite advances in treatment options, many patients and families continue to struggle with the reality that even medications, short-term psychotherapies and inpatient treatments have not been enough to return some patients to full functioning. Our research aims to better understand bipolar disorder in order to improve the lives of patients. 

 

We are 14 days into the campaign, and we are already at 11% of our $25,000 goal!  Your support has been truly amazing!

Please continue to share our mission with family, friends and those in our community.

 

We are grateful for your support! Thank you!

Today is World Mental Health Day!

October 10, 2018

Today is a day dedicated to global mental health education, and it's time to look at mental illness from a different perspective – a positive one!  

Let’s raise awareness of mental illness. Each of us can make a contribution to ensure that people dealing with problems concerning mental health can live better lives with dignity and respect.  

Your support has the opportunity to touch countless lives as we strive to bring relief to patients with Bipolar Disorder and their families. Please take a moment to watch the following video about the research we undertake here, and help us spread the word by sharing our campaign with family and friends!

Let’s keep going!

October 09, 2018

Hey everybody!

 

Thanks for all of your support so far for this project! We are so grateful to everyone who has funded, shared and gotten involved.

 

We want to keep you posted on what we have accomplished so far:

We raised $2,345.00 since the campaign was launched!

 

There are 38 days left for this campaign and we still need to raise $22,655 of $25,000. Any amount will help support research on the mechanisms of bipolar disorder, leading to new biological targets for the development of innovative treatment.

 

Please also help us by sharing this important research on bipolar disorder with others. You will find buttons on our homepage that allows you to quickly and easily share to Facebook and Twitter. The more people learn about this important research, the more impact we can have.

 

Let’s keep going!

 

Thank you! We could not be doing this without you.

New Research Attempts to Explain Genetic Bipolar Disorder Connection

October 05, 2018

Thanks to everyone’s generous support! Here is one of the studies that we have done in our research program. Your kind help will allow us to develop more studies like this!

 

Genetic alterations that can be modulated by stress have been identified in children at high risk for bipolar disorder, according to our previous study published in Translational Psychiatry, a Nature Publishing Group journal.

 

Our research group analyzed peripheral blood mononuclear cells from a total of 18 children and adolescents in three matched groups: bipolar patients, unaffected offspring of bipolar parents and children of parents with no history of psychiatric disorders.

We have known that children of patients with bipolar disorder have a higher risk of developing the illness but the biological mechanisms are largely unknown, and by analyzing the blood of children of controls and comparing it to children of bipolar patients, we identified several genes or markers that can explain the increased risk. Moreover, the analysis revealed that, compared to children in the control group, bipolar patients and unaffected offspring of bipolar parents had genetic alterations that can influence the response to stress.

 

We know from clinical studies of behavior and the environment that when children are chronically exposed to stressors, they are at a higher risk of developing bipolar disorder. Bipolar parents may struggle because of their disease, leading to higher environmental stress. Their children, because of the genetic markers they have, could be more vulnerable to stress.

 

There is a lot more to be done! Our ultimate goal is to find ways to prevent the onset of illness in these children and adolescents, and your help will help get there faster.

 

Please continue to share our mission with family, friends and those in our community.

Thank you!

Our campaign is live!

October 01, 2018

We are excited to announce the launch of our campaign in support of bipolar disorder research. Our research is conducted at the UTHealth Center for Excellence on Mood Disorders, which is comprised of an active research team specializing in clinical neurosciences, as well as clinical psychopharmacology and interventions research. Led by our director, Jair C. Soares, M.D., Ph.D., professor and Pat R. Rutherford Jr. Chair in Psychiatry, our team has been studying bipolar disorder for a combined 25 of years. Our work has resulted in several groundbreaking findings that show exciting promise for future clinical applications.

 

Your generous gift will enable us to continue and increase the impact of our research, providing hope for patients, their families and our communities. A contribution in any amount makes a difference. 

 

Please also remember to share our mission with family, friends and those in our community. Your support and involvement are greatly appreciated!