Navigation Links
UCLA: Lithium Builds Gray Matter in Bipolar Brains, UCLA Study,Shows

Novel brain imaging technique suggests how lithium works as a therapeutic

LOS ANGELES, April 12, 2007--Neuroscientists at UCLA have shown that lithium, long the standard treatment for bipolar disorder, increases the amount of gray matter in the brains of patients with the illness.

The research is featured in the July issue of the journal Biological Psychiatry and is currently available online.

Carrie Bearden, a clinical neuropsychologist and assistant professor of psychiatry at UCLA, and Paul Thompson, associate professor of neurology at the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, used a novel method of three-dimensional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to map the entire surface of the brain in people diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

When the researchers compared the brains of bipolar patients on lithium with those of people without the disorder and those of bipolar patients not on lithium, they found that the volume of gray matter in the brains of those on lithium was as much as 15 percent higher in areas that are critical for attention and controlling emotions.

The neurobiological underpinnings of bipolar disorder — an illness marked by a roller coaster of emotions between mania and depression — are not well understood. Nor is it understood how lithium works in controlling these severe mood swings, even though it has been the standard treatment for some 50 years. These new findings suggest that lithium may work by increasing the amount of gray matter in particular brain areas, which in turn suggests that existing gray matter in these regions of bipolar brains may be underused or dysfunctional.

This is the first time researchers were able to look at specific regions of the brain that may be affected by lithium treatment in living human subjects, said Bearden.

“We used a novel method for brain imaging analysis that is exquisitely sensitive to subtle differences in brain structure,” she said. “This type of imaging has not been used before to study bipolar patients. We also revealed how commonly used medications affect the bipolar brain.”

Although other studies have measured increases in the overall volume of the brain, Bearden said, this imaging method allowed the researchers to see exactly which brain regions were affected by lithium.

“Bipolar patients who were taking lithium had a striking increase in gray matter in the cingulate and paralimbic regions of the brain,” she said. “These regions regulate attention, motivation and emotion, which are profoundly affected in bipolar illness.”

While conventional MRI studies have measured brain volume in total, this new image analysis allows researchers to examine differences in cortical anatomy at a much greater spatial resolution.

In this study, Bearden and colleagues at UCLA used computer analysis to analyze brain scans collected by collaborators at the University of Pittsburgh in order to determine whether bipolar patients showed changes in brain tissue and, if so, whether those changes were influenced by lithium treatment. Specifically, they employed high-resolution MRI and cortical pattern-matching methods to map gray matter differences in 28 adults with bipolar disorder — 70 percent of whom were lithium-treated — and 28 healthy control subjects. Detailed spatial analyses of gray matter distribution were conducted by measuring local volumes of gray matter at thousands of locations in the brain.

While the brains of lithium-treated bipolar patients did not differ from those of the control subjects in total white-matter volume, their overall gray-matter volume was significantly higher, sometimes by as much as 15 percent.

Unfortunately, said Bearden, there is no evidence that the increase in gray matter persists if lithium treatment is discontin ued. “But it does suggest that lithium can have dramatic effects on gray matter in the brain,” she said. “This may be an important clue as to how and why it works.”

Graphics from the study are available online at: www.loni.ucla.edu/~khayashi/Texas/BIPOLAR/newCOVER_8x10_bipolar.tif


-----
Mark Wheeler
Senior Media Relations Rep
UCLA Health Sciences Media Relations
Voice: (310) 794-2265 or (310) 794-0777
CELL: (310) 562-8843
FAX: (310) 794-2259


'"/>




Related medicine technology :

1. When Volume Matters, Immunoassay Systems Deliver
2. Organons Asenapine Effective in a Phase III Study for the Treatment of Bipolar I Disorder; Results Unveiled at 2007 APA Meeting
3. Bipolar Disorder in Children Difficult to Diagnose, Reports the Harvard Mental Health Letter
4. Latest NIMH Study on Bipolar Disorder
5. Study Sheds Light on Medication Treatment Options for Bipolar Disorder
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Research and Markets has ... Global Analysis (United States, China, Japan, Brazil, United Kingdom, ... their offering. Surgical ... business planners, provides surgical procedure volume data in a ... an in-depth analysis of growth drivers and inhibitors, including ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016  The National Pharmaceutical Council ... the health policy research organization as its newest ... MD, senior vice president and chief scientific officer, ... on the NPC Board of Directors. ... Mallinckrodt has joined us in support of our ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Research ... Distribution in Europe 2016 Edition: The New Global Agenda " ... OTC Distribution in Europe ... that explores and tracks change. It identifies the driving factors ... for the consumer healthcare industry now and in the future. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology:
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... Strategic Capital Partners, LLC (SCP) in ... investment capital for emerging technology companies. SCP has delivered investment events and ... more than a million dollars of capital investment for five companies. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... Pro-Am Heroes Golf Classic Tournament held on June 20th at the Woodmont Country ... local charity, Luke’s Wings, an organization dedicated to helping service members that have been ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... Advanced Plastic Surgery Institute ( http://www.advancedplasticsurgeryinstitute.com ... its official Medspa Sponsor. Dr. Josh Olson, a board-certified plastic surgeon, owns the ... Olson says the decision to support the pageant in an official capacity is ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... To succeed under value-based ... however, are unsure how to move forward, given the need to sustain current ... forward tailored to an organization’s specific needs. , PYA Principal Martie Ross states, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... Today, InhaleLabs.com (Inhale) offilially launched its site, which aims to ... high quality water pipes within an ideal price range. The site is completely free ... two brothers, Nick and Mike Hunter, who use medical cannabis to heal ailments of ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):