Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder: Bridging the divide

October 16, 2009
Bridging the divide
Discovering common ground between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

( -- Sufferers of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are being brought together in a major new study to determine the diseases? common genetic causes.

For the first time, sufferers of schizophrenia and are being brought together in a major new study investigating the diseases’ common genetic causes and manifestations.

UNSW researchers believe the study will challenge the traditional classification of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder as separate diseases.

They hope the results will aid the early detection of a cognitive vulnerability to psychosis in adolescence, facilitating early intervention and the development of drug treatments that can be personalised according to genotype.

Recent molecular genetic and epidemiological studies in Sweden and the US have suggested that the disorders share some common , but the results have not been definitive in determining which are shared and what they code for.

“The international diagnostic manual for the classification of is currently being revised and it’s being considered as to whether schizophrenia and bipolar disorder should be grouped together. It’s very controversial,” said study leader Dr Melissa Green, from UNSW’s School of Psychiatry.

“There’s not been enough evidence so far to support that change - this study will provide good quality evidence on this issue,” she said.

Dr Green and her team will integrate data from genetics, functional neuroimaging, cognitive testing and physiological measurements to pinpoint shared genetic susceptibility to the disorders, which may manifest in common cognitive and frontal brain dysfunctions.

“We’ve spent over 100 years trying to work out what’s causing schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and many people believe that maintaining these conditions as distinct diseases has been holding us back,” Dr Green said.

“Already some medications are shared across the two disorders, and are aimed at treating overt psychotic symptoms. With more information, new drugs could be developed to improve the enduring cognitive deficits as well.”

Dr Green was recently named as an Australian Research Council Future Fellow, with her project attracting close to $700,000 funding over four years from the federal government. The study is being conducted in collaboration with researchers at the Research Institute, the Black Dog Institute, the Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute, and Leiden University, The Netherlands.

Provided by University of New South Wales (news : web)

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3 / 5 (1) Oct 16, 2009
Really Bipolar and Schizophrenia are not similar to the perception of the patient, so if they are the same at the base, then that will only lead to a unification of medication, not to a unification of the symptoms.
4.5 / 5 (2) Oct 19, 2009
Another afraid person. Could the pharmaceutical companies possibly have good intentions? It's hard for many to believe so.

I have both bipolar and schizophrenia. "Yes" I challenge your statement that perceptions of these two diseases are not similar to the patient. Mania has a direct connection to psychosis in my and many others' cases. Psychosis by the way being the number one symptom of schizophrenia. Don't let your fear of powerful organizations block your ability to reason. This may result in a unification of medication, and that would be great! I hate taking so many pills every day, why not just one? And one that really treats symptoms well?
not rated yet Oct 20, 2009
Mmm. I think that paranoia is the number one symptom that comes with schizophrenia. And the psychosis comes from the paranoia or from the depressive cycle, and not from the schizophrenia.
Now that I read your comment again, I think that you really suffer from what you say, because you say something projective: You say:
Don't let your fear of powerful organizations block your ability to reason.

So I think that demonstrates that your schizophrenia goes hand in hand with the paranoia. This paranoia that is causing the psychosis you are talking about and hence most likely the hallucinations.
I really hope that they do find a medicine to treat it all.
My recommendation is always: try to turn the hallucinations into something useful. Buy a book about symbolisms and try to interpret the hallucinations, maybe you can get famous or rich from your situation. That is better than seeing your ability as a disability.
Please take control, I hope you can. At least you can give it a try
5 / 5 (1) Oct 21, 2009
Sorry Yes, I believe I misread you. I made a "projection" which actually was a guess as to what your first post was getting at. It is a rather unclear post, so I couldn't figure out what you meant. After your second post, I see the issue here really is your belief that schizophrenia is a disorder of paranoia, and that sufferers of bipolar disorder do not experience paranoia. I'm not sure if it's the movie A Beautiful Mind that did it, but lots of people have a misconception around paranoia and schizophrenia. Disorganized thinking, hallucinations, and paranoia are all types of psychosis. People with bipolar don't typically suffer the same degree of paranoia as schizophrenics, but do experience some. Disorganized thinking and hallucinations have a much higher prevalence in bipolar sufferers. There is even a schizophrenic bipolar subtype.

I suggest you reevaluate what your notions of schizophrenics are, and avoid advising us to "get rich" off of exploiting our own symptoms
not rated yet Oct 21, 2009
1- I never said that schizophrenia is a disorder of paranoia. You did not read correctly.
2- I don't watch movies.
3- Why should I avoid giving this advice. From my view it is optimistic to try to turn something negative to your advantage. I would always try this even if the experience is horrific, I would do any effort to try to at least to remember what I perceived and try to put it to words in a book or notes. Even ask somebody to help me with that.
4- I have been warned to never go in discussion with somebody who suffers psychosis, but I ignore this because I want to understand. I try to listen between the words.
5 / 5 (1) Oct 23, 2009
Yes you obviously do not know what you are talking about. I have bipolar disorder and your suggestions to "take control" are offensive. When one is delusional they do not have the reasoning capabilities to take control. It's like telling someone to finish a marathon with a compound fracture. You are not speaking from experience, but yet you know everything and when confronted and challenged with a different point of view from someone who has actually been through it you throw her mental illness back in her face to discredit the validity of her experience. "I have been warned to never go into a discussion with somebody who suffers psychosis." When speculating the subject psychosis you would be wise to shut up and listen to those who know what it is and quit being a know it all despite your lack of experience.
5 / 5 (1) Nov 15, 2009
I am also Bi-polar, and agree with you janine68, that "Yes" has put their large foot in their mouth, and made is quite clear they have no true grasp of the illness. Your marathon example is a good one. I believe its best to attempt to enlighten those who are merely curious or concerned, but to ignore the advice given by someone who has not truly experienced it. Those who have some warped, over inflated sense of their own intelligence, not to mention the gall to presume they know whats best for others...well, just let them strut around in their little ego bubbles with their feet stuck in their arrogant little mouths. =)

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