Is Your Child Manic?

Study tries to predict onset of bipolar disorder in children

(RxWiki News) The National Institute of Mental Health has just given a grant of almost $8 million to further the study of children with symptoms of mania in order to better predict the onset of bipolar disorder.

Case Western Reserve University has received a $7.8 million grant to study mania, which is a common predictor of bipolar disorder, in children. Bipolar disorder currently affects around six million Americans, and 7 percent of children exhibit signs of childhood on-set bipolar disease.

The National Institute of Mental Health funded this grant, which is a continuation of a study that began five years ago. Scientists want to find out what makes children with elevated symptoms of mania eventually develop bipolar disorder as adolescents and into adulthood.

Since enrolling, the children who began the study five years ago have been monitored every six months. The researchers kept tabs on their symptoms and use of mental health medications, for example. The recent grant will continue this study of the children, who range in age from 8 to 17. Some of them are in the crucial stage, in adolescence, when bipolar disorder usually develops.

The next phase of the study will introduce neuroimaging, or brain imaging. The scientists will employ magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which is safer than x-rays due to its use of magnetization instead of radiation.

The overall goal of this study is to figure out, according to the authors, "the most appropriate points for intervention." Determining at what age symptoms worsen and bipolar disorder appears will be the key to providing the most successful treatments.

Review Date: 
January 26, 2011