Bipolar disorder is otherwise called as maniac-depressive illness. The disease incidence is about one in fifty. But the sad state is that one in six people who suffer from the disorder are likely to commit suicide.
Hence extensive research was done on this disease to identify the gene and also develop various treatment modalities. Dr. Ian Blair conducted a study which revealed the bipolar risk gene.
The research was collaborative effort from both the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and University of New South Wales. This research would help many patients suffering from this disorder as it shows that certain people who have this gene are at a higher risk of developing Bipolar disorder.
Dr. Ian Blair published his work in the journal molecular psychiatry. They studied a wide rage of people including unrelated patients, and therapeutic drug mouse models and a large number of samples.
At the end they found that the gene responsible to increase the risk of this disorder to be the FAT gene. It codes for proteins which connect the brain cells.
But the exact mechanism of how the gene (FAT) increases the risk of developing bipolar disorder is still a mystery which has to be unraveled by conducting further research.
The treatment of this disorder is usually lithium. Lithium is apparently the first mood-stabilizing agent approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
But the mode of action of lithium is not yet understood in detail. Lithium also has few disadvantages like weight gain, kidney problems, tremor etc.
Dr Blair's reports that lithium alters the FAT gene and its expression along with the other FAT proteins associated in increasing the risk of bipolar disorder.
In conclusion the scientist tells that further research is necessary to identify the mode of action of the FAT gene and develop new medicines that have no side-effects as lithium.