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Feinstein Institute and Cold Spring Harbor Lab join forces, seek manic depression genes

GLEN OAKS, NY -- Psychiatric researchers from The Zucker Hillside Hospital campus of The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research announced today they have launched a collaborative research project spearheaded by James Watson, PhD, the co-discoverer of the DNA double helix, and a team of researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) to identify key genetic underpinnings of bipolar disorder (BPD), a mental illness that is known to run in families. Expected to last two to three years, the study will focus on early-onset BPD and will involve children with the illness and their parents.

"For complex illnesses like bipolar disorder that vary dramatically in symptoms and severity among affected individuals, especially children and adolescents, identifying genetic underpinnings is very difficult," said Anil Malhotra, MD, lead investigator for The Feinstein. "It is also critical to accelerating and confirming a bipolar diagnosis and developing more rational and effective treatments. Collaborating with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory will help make this a reality."

The collaboration will allow the team to leverage the unique clinical populations at Zucker Hillside, a renowned psychiatric hospital in Glen Oaks, NY, with state-of-the-art molecular tools available at CSHL in Cold Spring Harbor, NY, and The Feinstein Institute in Manhasset, NY.

Commonly referred to as manic depression, BPD is a mood disorder that goes beyond the day's ordinary ups and downs, becoming a serious medical condition and an important health concern in the United States. More than 2.3 million American adults are diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and research suggests that at least a quarter of a million children and adolescents are also affected by bipolar spectrum disorders, though some estimates are much higher. The disorder is characterized by periodic episodes of extreme elation, elevated mood or irritability (also called mania) countered by periodic depressive
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Contact: Christina Verni
cverni@nshs.edu
516-562-1232
North Shore-Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Health System
21-Dec-2006


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