Search for bipolar gene, toll of disease topics of conference call briefings June 16, 17


PITTSBURGH, June 13 Held every two years, the International Conference on Bipolar Disorder is the only venue in the world devoted exclusively to highlighting new research into bipolar disorder, which affects both adults and children, devastates families and work relationships, accounts for nearly half of all suicides in the United States and costs billions in medical bills, missed work and lower productivity each year.

The Sixth Conference will be held June 16 18 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, located in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, and is being sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

To accommodate media, a press room will be located in Rooms 310-311 of the Convention Center and will be open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday, June 16 and Friday, June 17. During the meeting, the phone number in the press room will be (412) 325-6088. A press briefing will be held each day and will cover the following topics and research findings. Reporters wishing to participate in press briefings via telephone conference call should call 800-860-2442 and reference the bipolar briefing.

12:15 p.m., Thursday, June 16

Press Briefing Challenges and Clues: The Genetics of Bipolar Disorder Why hasn't a gene for bipolar disorder been identified when clearly the illness affects some families more than others? What is science telling us about who is most vulnerable and how onset of the illness can be prevented? A European study zeros in on the most likely candidate genes, while another study finds an association between an abnormal thyroid condition and bipolar disorder, pointing to the possibility of a simple blood test to identify those who may be at risk.

Participants: J.Raymond DePaulo, Jr., M.D., Johns Hopkins University,
Marion Leboyer, M.D., Ph.D., Paris University Faculty of Medicine, France
Moderator: Michael Thase, M.D., University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

12:15 p.m., Friday, June 17

Press Briefing The Burden of Bipolar Disorder: Solutions that Make Sense

Preliminary results of a new survey indicate 4.3 percent of the U.S. adult population suffers from a bipolar disorder, considerably higher than earlier studies estimating 1 percent prevalence. Its cost comes as a surprise as well, with a near $26 billion annual price tag in the United States. Bipolar disorder accounts for nearly half of all suicidal deaths each year. How best to prevent these suicides? One study finds lithium, one of psychiatry's oldest drugs, the most effective solution.

Participants: Ronald C. Kessler, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School, Ross J. Baldessarini, M.D., Harvard Medical School
Moderator: Ellen Frank, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Other sessions that may also be of interest to news media include:

Thomas R. Insel, M.D., director of the National Institute of Mental Health, will highlight the challenges and promises in bipolar disorder research, while emphasizing the agency's translational approach of moving discoveries from bench to bedside to practice, in a special report at 1 p.m., Thursday, June 16.

The ethical questions surrounding the use of placebos in clinical trials will be discussed by both academic and pharmaceutical industry researchers in a session beginning at 2:45 p.m., Thursday, June 16.

Late-breaking research, including studies that are identifying the specific regions of the brain that may be responsible for manic behaviors and pinpointing changes in brain metabolism that occur in response to certain drugs, will be presented in a special session at 2:45 p.m., Friday, June 17.

For more information about the meeting, to request abstracts, register as press or learn more about press briefings, please contact Gloria Kreps at [email protected] or Lisa Rossi at [email protected], or call the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's News Bureau at 412-647-3555. The preliminary scientific program and hotel information are available at

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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