A new review on bipolar disorder highlights the need of a translational approach of the disease

Researchers from Hospital Clínic and IDIBAPS have published a review on bipolar disorder in the prestigious journal The Lancet. It is an update on the latest developments in tackling this disease, of which a complete vision is offered. Researchers emphasize in the importance of a translational approach of bipolar disorder and underline the need to search for biomarkers for a better diagnosis and a personalized treatment. The article has been coordinated by Dr. Eduard Vieta, head of the unit and research group on Bipolar Disorder at Hospital Clinic and IDIBAPS, and Dr. Iria Grande, specialist at the same team.

Bipolar disorder (BD) is a chronic disease that occurs in episodes and it is characterized by fluctuations in mood state. It is one of the main causes of cognitive and functional impairment. It affects more than 1% of the global population without distinguishing between nationality, ethnicity or economic status and is one of the leading causes of disability among young people. Because of its chronicity and recurrence both pharmacological and psychological strategies are mandatory to prevent future episodes.

One of the main problems is that it takes between 5 and 10 years to detect BD, because its onset is often a depressive episode and is treated as a depression. Thus, only 20% of patients having a depressive episode are diagnosed with bipolar disorder within the first year. "There is a stage in which it is very difficult to detect and patients often do not reach psychiatry departments", explains Dr. Eduard Vieta. "For an accurate diagnosis it is necessary to conduct an interview with the patient and also their relatives to discern the longitudinal course of the disorder", he adds.

The seminar published in The Lancet also reviews the staging of patients with TB. In other diseases, such as cancer, staging of patients based on the progression of the disease is a widespread and common practice. However, on TB it has been recently proposed a scheme of the course of the disease, since people are at risk of developing the disorder for their family history until the disorder becomes chronic.

Regarding future directions, researchers emphasize in the importance of tackling TB from a translational perspective and remark the need to find specific biomarkers for the disease. "Research in this area is already focused on finding genetic markers of response to treatment to know in advance whether or not the patient will respond to medication", explains Dr. Iria Grande.

Referencia del artículo:

Bipolar disorder

Iria Grande, Michael Berk, Boris Birmaher, Eduard Vieta

Lancet. 2015 Sep 17. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)00241-X