Scientists have found that many siblings of people with bipolar disorder, who should themselves be susceptible to it, are made resilient by an adaptive brain mechanism, characterized by higher levels of activity in a cerebral network linked with cognition.
People with bipolar disorder are subject to extreme mood shifts, from feeling "high" to feeling absolutely "down." They also experience abnormal fluctuations in their energy levels, which can lead to disrupted activity patterns.
In the United States, the yearly prevalence of bipolar disorder among adults is approximately 2.6 percent, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
The NIMH identify three main factors that put people at risk of bipolar disorder: genetic factors, environmental factors, and changes in the brain.
First-degree relatives of people with bipolar disorder have a 13-fold higher risk of developing the disorder themselves, some studies suggest. However, many siblings of people with bipolar disorder do not develop it themselves, although, genetically, they are at such a high risk.
Now, a team of researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, NY, led by Dr. Sophia Frangou, has endeavored to reveal the reason behind siblings' resilience to the disorder, and to see whether or not this could help to develop better preventive interventions.
This new study is based on previous research conducted by the team of scientists over the past few years. As Dr. Frangou declared for Medical News Today, "Over the last 5 years, we have provided evidence that the brain of high-risk individuals for bipolar disorder shows adaptive (resilience-related) changes in individuals that remain well despite their genetic risk."
Read more at: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318990.php