The Australian Genetics of Bipolar Disorder Study aims to discover the specific and heritable genes associated with the illness and to determine why some people respond to a certain medication but not others.
The long term aims are to be able to use this information to help speed up the process of diagnosing bipolar disorder and identifying the best treatment strategies at an individual level.
Bipolar Disorder is a severe mental illness causing significant disability and burden, affecting 2% of the Australian population at any time. Family studies suggest there is an important genetic contribution to Bipolar Disorder.
People with bipolar disorder — previously called manic depression — can have depressive, and manic or hypomanic episodes that can last a week or more, affecting their thoughts and behaviour. It is a complex disorder that occurs commonly within families and typically results from a combination of genetic and environmental influences.
The purpose of the research project is to identify specific genetic risk factors associated with differences between people in both risk of Bipolar Disorder and response to treatment. We hope that this research will help us learn more about this disorder, and the factors influencing why various treatments for Bipolar Disorder are successful for some people and not for others.
For this study we hope to recruit at least 5000 people who have Bipolar Disorder. This research has been funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
Professor Sarah Medland