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Health Agencies Update
June 27, 2007

Bipolar Genetics Studied

JAMA. 2007;297(24):2686. doi:10.1001/jama.297.24.2686-d

The development of bipolar disorder may be increased by the combined effects of small variations in many individual genes, none of which is sufficient to cause the condition when acting alone, according to new findings (Baum AE et al. Mol Psychiatry. doi:10.1038/sj.mp.4002012 [published online May 8, 2007]). The study was led by scientists at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), in collaboration with researchers involved in the NIMH Genetics Initiative.

The study is the first to scan almost all variations in genes with the aim of finding those associated with bipolar disorder. The researchers pooled the genetic material of 413 adults with bipolar disorder and scanned it for gene variants; they also scanned a separate pool of genetic material from 563 adults without the disorder. They then compared the findings from the two groups to identify which gene variants occurred more often in people with bipolar disorder and examined these variants individually.

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