This paper is Gaye Carlson's contribution to The Balanced Mind Parent Network's series, Translation of the Scientific Evolution of Pediatric Bipolar Disorder. The series presents the leading researchers' contribution to the field. It describes the programmatic approach and direction of the labs, the seminal questions which drive their research, a listing of their most important findings and a summary of how their work impacts the field. The Balanced Mind Parent Network is very grateful to Dr. Carlson for sharing her insights with our readers.
The Department of Psychiatry’s Institute for Juvenile Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is conducting studies in genetics, brain structure, and biochemistry to search for early biological markers of bipolar disorder. These markers are physiological changes or traits that provide evidence of the illness that can be detected even before symptoms appear in at-risk children. Early intervention can greatly reduce the symptoms that occur, and it can head off other disorders, such as substance abuse, that often develop in untreated individuals. The UIC researchers are examining medication and gene therapy as preventive treatments for children who are at risk for developing the illness.
A family-based prevention program designed to help adolescents avoid substance use and other risky behavior proved especially effective for a group of young teens with a genetic risk factor contributing toward such behavior, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Georgia. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), components of the National Institutes of Health, supported the study, which appears in the May/June issue of Child Development.