Researchers Encouraged by New Bipolar Disorder Study
> 1/31/2006 11:01:36 AM

At Yale a team of doctors has used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure brain changes over time in sufferers of bipolar disorder (BPD).  Our emotions are regulated in a part of the brain called ventral prefrontal cortex, located above the eyes.  BPD causes changes in that region that are readable using MRI.  These changes usually become prominent during young adulthood. 

The Yale team used the results of their MRI research to conclude that mood stabilizing drugs actually reversed the changes that BPD had on the brain.
“The brain changes were diminished in persons with bipolar disorder who were taking mood-stabilizing medications,” said Hilary Blumberg, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and director of Yale's Mood Disorders Research Program. “This brings hope that it may someday be possible to halt the progression of the disorder.”

This study also draws attention to the future of BPD research, which will hopefully focus on developing techniques for earlier diagnosis. With this evidence, proving that mood stabilizers can be effective in treating BPD at its source in the brain, early detection remains the one roadblock that continues to prevent doctors from easily handling BPD.

Read the Yale Press Release here.

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