Researchers identify 20 novel gene associations with bipolar disorder

In the largest study of its kind, involving more than 50,000 subjects in 14 countries, researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and more than 200 collaborating institutions have identified 20 new genetic associations with one of the most prevalent and elusive mental illnesses of our time — bipolar disorder. The study is reported in the May 2019 issue of Nature Genetics.

The elevated morbidity and mortality associated with bipolar disorder make it a major public health problem and leading contributor to the global burden of disease. The identification of genes associated with it can help identify therapeutic targets for treatment and prevention.

Bipolar disorder, a neuropsychiatric condition characterized by dramatic shifts in a person’s mood, affects approximately 60 million people globally, 10 million of them in the United States. Unlike other illnesses, bipolar disorder has been found to affect men, women, and people of all ethnic groups equally. While genetic and environmental factors have been demonstrated to play a role in the illness, the exact cause of bipolar disorder remains unknown.

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