Dec 04

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Breakthrough Research Reveals How Lithium Really Helps Bipolar Disorder

Research Reveals How Lithium Really Helps Bipolar Disorder

Breakthrough Research Reveals How Lithium Really Helps Bipolar Disorder

Lithium is a common treatment for bipolar disorder, but the science and medical communities are still trying to figure out exactly how it works in the body. This medication has been used for the last 50 years, but there are still some mysteries surrounding it.

Study Results

Researchers at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) focused on understanding how lithium actually helps bipolar disorder. They wanted to know the molecular mechanisms behind the treatment. They were able to map the response pathway of this medication in cells.

Researchers believe they have found the molecular target for lithium. The protein called CRMP2 was made active by lithium. It was not active in the cells of bipolar disorder patients before lithium was added in the study. 

Understanding Lithium

Understanding the molecular mechanisms triggered by lithium in cells is important. First, it helps the medical community figure out exactly how the drug works inside the body. Second, it creates the potential for better drugs and treatments that can target these molecular mechanisms.

Lithium is a common prescription for bipolar disorder, but it does not work for everyone. This study and others help shed light on how medications work, so there is the potential to figure out why they do not help all patients.

Genes and Protein

The new study also reveals the importance of proteins. Researchers previously blamed genes for bipolar disorder, but the study results indicate that it may actually be a problem with proteins. The genes may not be defective. Instead, it is the regulation of the CRMP2 protein that may be at fault.

More studies are needed to determine if all bipolar patients have issues with the CRMP2 protein. This is a complex disorder, so it may have multiple causes. However, the new study gives hope that researchers will be able to figure out the details.

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