The Department of Psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has received a $7.8 million renewal grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) for the long-term study of manic symptoms in children.
The grant from the NIMH, one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), funds the continuation of a study launched five years ago in which 707 children between the ages of six and 12 years were screened and evaluated for elevated symptoms of mania (ESM), a common indicator of bipolar disease and other childhood psychiatric disorders.
By studying the course of a child's ESM over time, which can include periods of rapid mood swings and intense irritability, researchers hope to learn more about what factors make children with ESM more likely to develop a bipolar spectrum disorder.
"We want to develop the means by which to more accurately diagnose bipolar disease in children," says Robert L. Findling, MD, the Rocco L Motto, M.D. Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at the School of Medicine, and director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center. He is the study's coordinating principal investigator.
From the point of enrollment, children participating in the study's initial phase have been evaluated every six months for their psychiatric diagnoses, symptoms, use of mental health services and medication, and psychosocial function. The NIMH renewal grant allows researchers to continue these six-month evaluations among participants, who will now be between eight and 17 years of age. This will enable the collection of data during a period when study participants are at greater risk of developing a bipolar spectrum disorder, Dr. Findling says.
Researchers will also incorporate both neurocognitive testing (evaluations that assess how well a person processes new data, as well as their ability to process information and pay attention)
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Case Western Reserve University