$9M grant awarded to University of Cincinnati for bipolar disorder research

CINCINNATIResearchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) have been awarded a $9 million five-year grant to find new ways to improve and personalize treatments for bipolar disorder, and to better understand how to identify this brain disorder earlier with the goal of preventing disease progression.

Bipolar disorder affects close to 6 million Americans each year and is recognized as one of the leading causes of disability worldwide.

The grant supports the formation of the Bipolar Disorder Imaging and Treatment Research Center (BITREC) at the UC College of Medicine and was awarded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) of the National Institutes of Health.

The causes of bipolar disorder are unclear, researchers say, so that determining the best treatment quickly for a given individual remains difficult and is largely based on educated trial-and-error of various medications that have been shown to improve symptoms in studies of large groups of affected individuals.

BITREC investigators, led by Stephen Strakowski, MD, professor and interim chairman of the department of psychiatry and director of the Center for Imaging Research, will use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS)a technique used to measure the locations and amounts of specific brain chemicals based on their magnetic properties to study what bipolar disorder looks like in the brain, particularly in response to different treatments.

Bipolar disorder is a condition thats very dynamic, says Strakowski. Symptoms are progressive and frequently changing. To us, this suggests there are changes developing in the brain that impact how treatments will work during different times in the illness.

Strakowski says there are key areas in the brain where changes are occurring. These areas include the prefrontal cortical and subcortical brain regions that form the anterior limbic network, the system

Contact: Dama Kimmon
University of Cincinnati

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