The Net Guide: Bipolar Disorder

MDNG PsychiatryJune 2010
Volume 12
Issue 2

We searched the Internet for bipolar disorder resources so you don't have to.

Type the link codes in the search window above to access the third-party resource.

The Educated Patient

Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation

The mission of the Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation is to “improve the lives of families raising children and teens living with bipolar disorder and related conditions.” With that in mind, the foundation’s online home provides valuable information and answers to common questions for parents and caregivers of young patients. Featured here are topics under the sections “Learn,” “Connect,” and “Teens and 20s.” In the “Learn” section, visitors can explore an extensive library, which features a collection of news articles on the topic, a bookstore recommending literature, “The Education Corner,” featuring scientific information, and the “Getting Started” section. In “Getting Started,” new parents are given tips and initial steps in dealing with their child’s newly diagnosed illness. Among these tips are: get support for yourself, build the proper treatment team for your child, expand your knowledge of bipolar disorder, and look at how your child’s illness affects his or her education.

Link Code:pn12221

Healthy Place: Bipolar Disorder

Here, your patients can connect to a bipolar community, watch videos related to the disorder, and read basic information on the disorder, in-depth-articles, mental health-related blogs. Among the popular community is the Bipolar Mood Chart, a tool that lets patients track their mood over a given month. The chart instructs patients to fill in check marks to express whether they feel their mood was elevated, moderate, or depressed on any given day of the month. The chart is designed to help patients, as well as their physicians, look for patterns and aids in the process of designing a successful treatment plan.

Link Code: pn12222

Helping Someone with a Mood Disorder

Caregivers and family members of your bipolar patients can benefit from the information within this article-based section of the Depression and Bipolar Support Website. Under the “What You Need to Know” section, the site advises that it is important to offer “support, understanding, and hope” and to keep in mind that “each person experiences a mood disorder differently, with different symptoms.” The article goes on to offer tips on what to say to a bipolar patient, such as “You are not alone in this. I’m here for you,” and what not to say, including “We all go through times like this.”

Link Code: pn12223

NARSAD The Brain and Research Fund

This site features a section dedicated to bipolar disorder that includes two video podcasts, one featuring broadcast journalist Jane Pauley—who “shares her personal struggle with bipolar disorder”—and another featuring Anna Marie "Patty" Duke, who wrote the book, “A Brilliant Madness: Living With Manic Depressive Illness.” Additionally, the site features basic info on the disorder, including a list of symptoms, diagnosing criteria, treatment options, and advice on lifestyle.

Link Code: pn12224

Online CME

Maintaining Remission in Bipolar Disorder


Fee: None

Expires:April 20, 2011


This program is designed to “educate clinicians on the rational, evidence-based use of maintenance therapy for patients with bipolar disorder.” Following completion of the activity, participants should be able to “identify appropriate maintenance strategies” for bipolar patients.

Link Code: pn12231

Clinical Chart Review, Part 1: Assessing and Managing the Patient with Bipolar Mania



Expires:March 15, 2011


Complete this course in order to be better able to “implement strategies to improve assessment, treatment selection, and long-term outcomes in patients with bipolar mania.” Upon completion, participants should be able to use “validated tools to assess for mania symptoms in patients diagnosed with depression.” Be sure to look for parts 2 and 3 of this course using the below link code.

Link Code: pn12232

The Hidden Peril of Mixed Bipolar Episodes in Primary Care



Expires:November 15, 2010


This activity discusses “the unique symptomatology and clinical presentations of bipolar disorder in adults and youth.” The focus is on improving “diagnostic accuracy of bipolar disorder through increased knowledge of hypomania, mixed states, and rapid cycling and utilization of diagnostic screening tools.”

Link Code: pn12233


Improving the Design of Maintenance Studies for Bipolar Disorder

Journal:Current Medical Research and Opinion (June 2010)

Authors:Gitlin MJ, Abulseoud O, Frye MA

Purpose:To evaluate the design of monotherapy maintenance studies in bipolar disorder, because “recent study designs continue to differ in important ways.”

Results: The team “reviewed the design of recent controlled bipolar maintenance studies, using PubMed, from August 2006 to August 2009.” They examined “the strengths and weaknesses of different study design features” and found that design elements “such as recent episode polarity, stabilization criteria, or using enriched versus nonenriched samples” are “critical factors that differ widely across studies.” They concluded that a consensus for trial designs will make it “easier to develop algorithms for maintenance treatment based on results from studies as opposed to clinical opinions.”

Link Code: pn12251

Differences of Clinical Characteristics and Phenotypes between Prepubertal- and Adolescent-Onset Bipolar Disorders

Journal:Journal of Korean Medical Science (June 2010)

Authors:Song M, Yoon H, Choi I, et al.

Purpose:To “describe the clinical characteristics of prepubertal- and adolescent-onset bipolar disorder (BD) and to identify any clinical differences between the two groups.

Results:It appears that “a significant number of patients with prepubertal- and adolescent-onset BD do not meet DSM-IV criteria for mania or hypomania.”

Link Code: pn12252

Perception of Facial Emotion in Adults with Bipolar or Unipolar Depression and Controls

Journal:Journal of Psychiatric Research (May 2010)

Authors:Schaefer K, Baumann J, Rich B, et al.

Purpose:The researchers sought to use “animated facial stimuli” and “explored sensitivity to facial expressions” to evaluate the claim that “patients with depression display deficits in their ability to perceive emotions.” They wanted to focus on “facial processing in unipolar versus bipolar depression.”

Results:Participants in the study included 34 patients with DSM-IV major depressive disorder, 21 patients with DSM_IV bipolar (BPD) in the depressed phase, and 24 never-depressed controls. All completed the Emotional Expression Multimorph Task, “which presents facial emotions in gradations from neutral to 100% emotional expression.” The researchers found that “subjects with bipolar depression may have emotional processing abnormalities relative to controls.”

Link Code: pn12253

Clinical Trials

Identifying Predictors of Bipolar Disorder Relapse During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period

Study Type:Observational

Age/Gender Requirements:18-45 years (female)

Sponsor:National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Purpose:“This study will evaluate pregnant women who have bipolar disorder to gain a better understanding of risk factors for bipolar disorder relapse during pregnancy and the postpartum period.”

Link Code: pn12261

Memantine and Cognitive Dysfunction in Bipolar Disorder

Study Type:Interventional

Age/Gender Requirements:18-65 years (male/female)

Sponsor: Massachusetts General Hospital

Purpose:The study is designed to “see whether Memantine improves memory function in subjects with bipolar disorder who have minimal symptoms.” The study will also test the role of the drug “in improving residual mood symptoms in subjects with bipolar disorder.”

Link Code: pn12262

Sleep Disturbance and Bipolar Disorder

Study Type:Interventional

Age/Gender Requirements:18 years+ (male/female)

Sponsor:National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Purpose:“The study aims to evaluate a psychological intervention for individuals who suffer from sleep disturbance and bipolar disorder.”

Link Code: pn12263

From the HCPLive Network

Re-visiting the Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder in Children

In March, research from the Hastings Center suggested that children who are currently diagnosed with bipolar disorder should instead be diagnosed with new conditions like Severe Mood Dysregulation (SMD) or Temper Dysregulation Disorder with Dysphoria (TDD). Now, a follow-up study by the Hastings Center reveals that a shift in diagnosis may not be enough “to help troubled children flourish.”

30 Years of Progress - Antipsychotic Therapy

Edward Pullen, MD

Last week I posted about the progress in the treatment of depression over the last 30 years. Today, I’m going to discuss what I think is an even more dramatic improvement in pharmacologic management of psychiatric disease. The treatment of major psychosis, especially schizophrenia, but also bipolar disorder, has had revolutionary breakthroughs with the new generation of antipsychotics.

Examining the Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder in Children

A new study from the Hastings Center suggests that children who exhibit signs of bipolar disorder may fare better with an emerging diagnostic approach, under which children may be diagnosed with new conditions like Severe Mood Dysregulation (SMD) or Temper Dysregulation Disorder with Dysphoria (TDD).

Pharma Focus

Seroquel XR (quetiapine)

The Educated Patient

Seroquel XR: Quetiapine Fumarate (extended-release tablets)

Patients can get the facts on Seroquel XR, download tools, watch videos focusing on user stories, and more when they visit the drug’s official site. Along with providing information on what to expect while taking the medication and common side effects, the site provides information on how to speak with a physician and prepare for office visits. A downloadable sheet on the site lists a number of questions patients can ask their doctor to help the treatment plan, including “what things should I consider when starting Seroquel XR?” The site also makes recommendations on how to be an engaged patient, with tips like keeping a mood-tracking diary; the site offers a printable version of such a tool.

Link Code: pn12225

Clinical Trials

Quetiapine XR for Cognitive and Functional Disability in Clinically Stable Patients With Bipolar Disorder

Study Type:Interventional

Age/Gender Requirement:18-65 years (male/female)

Sponsor:Emory University

Purpose:The goal is “to study quetiapine augmentation of mood stabilizer monotherapy in clinically stable patients with bipolar disorder” through a “randomized, placebo controlled trial.”

Link Code: pn12264

Seroquel in the Treatment of Dysphoric Hypomania in Bipolar II

Study Type:Intervnetional

Age/Gender Requirement:18-65 years (male/female)

Sponsor:Stanford University

Purpose:Researchers seek to “examine the efficacy of quetiapine (Seroquel) in treatment of dysphoric hypomania in patients with Bipolar II disorder” and to “evaluate the utility of Seroquel add-on treatment to decrease mixed depressive and hypomanic symptoms.”

Link Code: pn12265

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