2013 Bipolar Update
Finding The Bipolar Gene
For a long time medical science has been speculating about the existence of a bipolar gene that can help ground the genetic causes of bipolar disorder. Even before such a gene was conclusively detected, doctors always ask a patient if close relatives had likewise been diagnosed with bipolar disorder as if to say that there is almost always a genetic element to the illness.
Recent advancements in genetic sequencing technology as well as in neuroimaging techniques have helped identify a few potential suspects as the bipolar gene. In one study by an Australian medical research group, a gene known as the FAT gene and isolated in Chromosome 22 is actually present in 10% of bipolar disorder cases. Consequently, medical researches hypothesize that there is more than one bipolar gene involved in the onset and development of bipolar disorder and that in many cases, a different bipolar gene manifests as the trigger for the onset of the illness.
The research was borne out of observational data which clearly shows that a child who has at least one parent with bipolar disorder is up to twenty times more likely to develop the disease than an individual who does not have any a family member suffering from bipolar disorder.
So what are the projected benefits of the discovery of a bipolar gene or a family of genes responsible for bipolar disorder? Consider the following likely developments in medical science as a response to a bipolar gene:
1. Children can now undergo genetic screening to detect if they have an inherent predisposition to bipolar disorder. This will be possible once a substantial number of the bipolar disorder-causing genes are discovered and mapped out. Subsequently, preventive methods can be devised to make sure that even children with a genetic inclination for bipolar disorder will not develop the disease.
2. A bipolar gene can be studied in more detail to help explain the mechanics of bipolar disorder. Today, majority of the knowledge related to bipolar disorder is largely speculative. In truth, the chemical and hormonal changes that happen during a manic or depressive cycle are not yet fully understood. A bipolar gene with a specifically defined mechanism of action which can be deduced from its chemical structure can be used as a springboard for discovering how bipolar disorder works.
With the continuing developments in medical science, the search for the elusive bipolar gene will only continue to move at a faster pace hopefully completing the list of potential bipolar disorder causes in a few years. That should also mean that the development of more effective and targeted treatment options is not far away.
So if you are suffering from bipolar disorder and still have not found an effective treatment method today, be hopeful that research into the bipolar gene can hasten the development of new treatment methods. There is cause for hope and optimism as medical science puts all its faith on neuroimaging and genetic sequencing techniques.
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