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.