2/01/2006

Genetic Risk for Bipolar Disorder

A risk gene for bipolar disorder has been shown for the first time by a team including researchers from University of New South Wales and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research.

The research found those who have a particular form of this gene are twice as likely to develop the condition.

Bipolar disorder, which is also known as manic-depressive illness, affects two in every 100 people, with mood swings resulting in periods of mania and depression with normal behaviour between episodes.

"Apart from lithium, which a significant number of patients cannot tolerate, the currently available medicines are not specific for the condition," said Professor Mitchell. "The identification of this gene could allow for the development of targeted medicines."

"We used a number of families, unrelated patients and therapeutic drug models. Each of these led us to the same gene, called F-A-T 1," said UNSW Professor Peter Schofield, who led the team at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and is now the Executive Director of the Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute (POWMRI).

Although the researchers have identified the gene, they are now trying to work out how it increases the risk of the disorder

UNSW: The University of New South Wales - Sydney Australia - News - Bipolar disorder: the genetic risk revealed

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