In 10 seconds? Researchers have found clues that Bipolar Disorder – a severe mental illness – is linked to genetic alterations in the brain affecting how nerve cells communicate with each other. The findings can focus research on developing more precise and effective therapies.
Why is it important? We are still not sure about what causes Bipolar Disorder (BD) – also known as ‘manic depression’. Alternating between depressive and heightened states in the patient, it wreaks havoc in families and can lead to people losing their jobs or developing addictive behaviors that can lead to cardiovascular disease and suicide. It affects over 1% of the world’s population but in the US, 2.8% of Amercians, around 9 million people have been diagnosed with it. And it causes a lot of financial damage: the condition costs the US economy alone between $167-$204 billion annually.