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Are the causes of bipolar disorders in the genes?
People suffering from bipolar disorder experience a roller coaster ride of emotions every day. The emotional state can change from sky high exasperated to severely sad in a very short time. In bipolar disorders, manic phases with megalomania and strongly depressed moods, including thoughts of suicide, give themselves over to the handle. The causes of this dangerous disease have not yet been sufficiently understood. An international research team recently discovered 20 new genes associated with bipolar disorders.
Around 280 international researchers, led by the University Hospital Bonn and the Universities of Marburg and Basel, discovered 20 new genes in a large-scale study that are associated with bipolar disorders. The study is the largest of its kind to date. The results were recently published in the renowned journal "Nature Genetics".
Largest genetic analysis on bipolar disorders
The genetic makeup of almost 30,000 people with bipolar disorders was examined in two steps and then compared with around 170,000 control people. "It is the largest genome-wide association study in patients with bipolar disorder," emphasizes Professor Dr. Markus Nöthen, the director of the Institute for Human Genetics at Bonn University Hospital.
20 new genes associated with bipolar disorders discovered
The international research team discovered a total of 30 regions related to the disorders in the patient's genome. 20 of these were identified for the first time in this study. According to the researchers, these genes are located in regions that can influence the action potential of neurons, for example. Furthermore, the study team found evidence for the first time that insulin regulation and the endocannabinoid system could also be involved in the development of the disease.
Two new subspecies of bipolar disorder are classified
In addition, the scientists were able to differentiate between two new subspecies of bipolar disorder. According to the study, the stronger “Type I” course is associated with more pronounced manic and depressive phases and an increased risk of schizophrenia. Type II bipolar disorders, on the other hand, are milder and can be compared to the symptoms of depression.
Genetic factors play an important role
Even if the exact causes are not yet fully known, the study team is certain that genetic factors play an important role in bipolar disorder. "There are many different genes involved in the development of the disease," reports Dr. Andreas Forstner, one of the first authors, in a press release on the study results.
New therapeutic approaches for bipolar disorders
The study results provide promising approaches for new therapies. "The more we understand the biological basis of the disease, the better new drugs can be developed," summarizes Professor Forstner. But there is still a long way to go. For more information, read the article: Bipolar Disorder - Causes, Signs, and Therapy. (vb)