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Research Overview

The Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Fund is helping to lay the new foundation of medical research. The fund brings together national collaborators, thereby creating larger sample sizes to be made available to scientists around the world. It is increasingly apparent that a detailed longitudinal course of study is necessary to understand the underpinnings of bipolar disorder. Understanding how the interactions between individual and his/her environment result in the manifestation of bipolar disorder is pivotal to the development of novel treatment strategies.

Predicting Outcomes and Preventing Disease

Researchers who study bipolar disorder have discovered an important connection between genes, stresses and environmental experiences. Understanding this connection is believed to be a key to conquering this illness.

Requirements for conquering bipolar illness include:

  • Understanding the interactions between genes and life stresses in causing bipolar disorder
  • Integrating genetics, stress, psychological factors and clinical studies to enable clinicians to make an accurate diagnosis, choose the best treatments, and prevent recurrences of the disease
  • Diagnosing and treating individuals earlier in life, monitoring their progress over years to understand the different courses of the illness, and linking genetic vulnerabilities with clinical interventions

Unique characteristics of the Prechter Bipolar Genes Project include:

  • Emphasis on those with early onset, especially adolescents
  • Ongoing relationships and frequent evaluations of participants at regular intervals to establish longitudinal patters
  • The first “translational” (“bench-to-bedside”) bipolar project to integrate genetic, longitudinal biomedical and clinical outcome measures
  • Incorporating established partnerships with Johns Hopkins, Penn State, Stanford and Weill Cornell Universities
  • Confidential availability of coded DNA samples and clinical information to scientists worldwide to accelerate knowledge breakthroughs

To learn more about participating or to obtain more information about the projects, please call 1-877-UM-GENES

Read about the Prechter Bipolar Genetics Repository.