Lithium is a ‘gold standard’ drug for treating bipolar disorder, however not everyone responds in the same way. New research published in BioMed Central’s open access journal Biology of Mood & Anxiety Disorders finds that this is true at the levels of gene activation, especially in the activation or repression of genes which alter the level the apoptosis (programmed cell death).
These findings are not about the classic story of gift-giving, although the MAGI genes (officially named membrane associated guanylate kinase, WW and PDZ domain containing proteins) do influence brain function in important ways.
A genetic variation in the gene neurocan (NCAN) could denote a strong risk factor for bipolar disorder, new research suggests. The study into the genetic basis of bipolar disorder, published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, considered the DNA of a large number of people with bipolar disorder in Europe, Australia and the USA. Through their GWAS investigation, they discovered that the genetic variation of NCAN was significantly associated with thousands of patients who suffer from bipolar disorder.
New research published in Biological Psychiarty hs identified that lithium can increase both hippocampal and amygdala volume in bipolar patients. Generally, patients who suffer biploar disorder have increased volume in specific areas of the brain, such as the left temporal lobe, right lateral ventircular and right putamen. Bipolar patients who did not receive lithium treatments tended to have a reduction in hippocampal and cerebral volume, compaired to healthy subjects who participated in this research.