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Brain cells seen to act differently 4 ways in bipolar patients

A recent University of Michigan study which isolated this cellular behavior was published online March 25 in the journal Translational Psychiatry.

The study was able to determine brain cells of patients with bipolar disorder act differently than those of people without the mental illness, in at least four ways:

  1. How often they express certain genes
  2. How they differentiate into neurons
  3. How they communicate
  4. How they respond to lithium

Dr. Melvin McInnis, a professor of bipolar disorder and depression at the University of Michigan Medical School was study co-leader.

Sue O'Shea, a professor in the department of cell and developmental biology and director of the University of Michigan Pluripotent Stem Cell Research Lab was also study co-leader.

The investigators said their research might one day lead to a better understanding of bipolar disorder and new treatments for the disease, which causes extreme emotional highs and lows. About 200 million people worldwide have bipolar disorder.

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