Researchers from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Japan, say there is good evidence of a link between bipolar disorder and mitochondrial dysfunction in brain nerve cells.

You can read about this study in Molecular Psychiatry.

Nobody is yet sure about the cause of bipolar disorder.

The scientists genetically engineered a mouse whose mitochondria in brain nerve cells would dysfunction. A mouse will normally be more active in the dark and stop when light appears. The genetically engineered mice carried on being active for some time after it became light. Many bipolar patients often suffer from insomnia.

If this finding helps scientists understand the mechanism of bipolar disorder, they may eventually be able to create more effective medications.

What Is Bipolar Disorder? What Are The Symptoms?

Bipolar disorder is also known as manic-depressive illness. It is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in a person’s mood, energy, and ability to function. Different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through, the symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe. They can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide. But there is good news: bipolar disorder can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives.

More than 2 million American adults,1 or about 1 percent of the population age 18 and older in any given year,2 have bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder typically develops in late adolescence or early adulthood. However, some people have their first symptoms during childhood, and some develop them late in life. It is often not recognized as an illness, and people may suffer for years before it is properly diagnosed and treated. Like diabetes or heart disease, bipolar disorder is a long-term illness that must be carefully managed throughout a person’s life.

What Are the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder causes dramatic mood swings-from overly “high” and/or irritable to sad and hopeless, and then back again, often with periods of normal mood in between. Severe changes in energy and behavior go along with these changes in mood. The periods of highs and lows are called episodes of mania and depression.

Signs and symptoms of mania (or a manic episode) include:

— Increased energy, activity, and restlessness

— Excessively “high,” overly good, euphoric mood

— Extreme irritability

— Racing thoughts and talking very fast, jumping from one idea to another

— Distractibility, can’t concentrate well

— Little sleep needed

— Unrealistic beliefs in one’s abilities and powers

— Poor judgment

— Spending sprees

— A lasting period of behavior that is different from usual

— Increased sexual drive

— Abuse of drugs, particularly cocaine, alcohol, and sleeping medications

— Provocative, intrusive, or aggressive behavior

— Denial that anything is wrong

A manic episode is diagnosed if elevated mood occurs with three or more of the other symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for 1 week or longer. If the mood is irritable, four additional symptoms must be present.

Signs and symptoms of depression (or a depressive episode) include:

— Lasting sad, anxious, or empty mood

— Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism

— Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness

— Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed, including sex

— Decreased energy, a feeling of fatigue or of being “slowed down”

— Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions

— Restlessness or irritability

— Sleeping too much, or can’t sleep

— Change in appetite and/or unintended weight loss or gain

— Chronic pain or other persistent bodily symptoms that are not caused by physical illness or injury

— Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts

CLICK HERE to read the rest of this extensive article that comes from the National Institute of Mental Health, USA

Written by: Christian Nordqvist
Editor: Medical News Today