Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Latest in Lithium Research

Lithium is a naturally occurring alkaline substance that exists in trace amounts in the body. For the past 60 years, lithium salt (lithium chloride) has been used for the treatment of bipolar disorder, becoming the “gold standard” for treatment in adults. What has always been interesting to me is that for the most part it’s been a mystery as to how lithium actually works to stabilize moods. There’s some knowledge that it affects the phosphatidyl inositol cycle inside cells, helping with mania and depression. But thanks to the latest research, we’re learning a lot more.

Last week The University of Manchester announced their latest finding in lithium research claiming that body clocks may hold the key for treatment of bipolar disorder:

“By tracking the dynamics of a key clock protein, we discovered that lithium increased the strength of the clockwork in cells up to three-fold by blocking the actions of an enzyme called glycogen synthase kinase or GSK3.
“Our findings are important for two reasons: firstly, they offer a novel explanation as to how lithium may be able to stabilise mood swings in bipolar patients; secondly, they open up opportunities to develop new drugs for bipolar disorder that mimic and even enhance the effect lithium has on GSK3 without the side-effects lithium salts can cause.”
— Dr Qing-Jun Meng 

Check out the research:
http://www.manchester.ac.uk/aboutus/news/display/?id=8058

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Sources:
The University of Manchester
March 13, 2012
http://www.manchester.ac.uk/aboutus/news/display/?id=8058

The Bipolar Child (3rd addition)
Demitri Papolos, M.D. and Janice Papolos
2006



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