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Brain Chemistry

Research strongly supports an imbalance of brain chemistry as the cause of bipolar disorder (manic depression). The resources here present the findings and theories of this ongoing research.

Messengers of the Brain
Containing the illustrated story "GABAs on the Move," this article explains how neurotransmitters work in easy-to-understand terms. These brain chemicals determine how you think, move and feel, and if they aren't working right, how things can go wrong.

Why Can't I Accept My Diagnosis?
Many people with bipolar disorder cannot accept their diagnosis. They just do not believe they have the disorder. Some may think the doctor is simply wrong. Others may blame stressful life events or a less severe condition. Are they being stubborn? Are they in denial? Perhaps they have a physical condition known as anosognosia.

Lithium & Gene Expression: The Research Continues
The efficacy of Lithium in reducing mania and stabilizing mood is well studied and documented. However, characteristics of Lithium that make it medically effective are not fully understood … yet. A research team identified genes whose activity appears to be switched on by lithium, suggesting more direct targets for drugs to treat bipolar disorder.

Evidence of Brain Chemistry Abnormalities
Press Release: University of Michigan researchers find evidence of brain chemistry abnormalities in bipolar disorder. 30% higher concentration of certain signaling cells may help explain and treat manic depression.

The "Kindling" Model in Bipolar Disorder
Can lack of treatment for bipolar disorder cause rapid cycling? Can stress lead a person at risk for manic depression into spontaneous mania or depression? The theory of kindling says yes.

The Kindling Model Revisited
While the Kindling Model has generally been accepted as an explanation for the progression of bipolar disorder over the life time, recent research indicates otherwise.

The Antidepressant Waiting Game
Depression Guide Nancy Schimelpfening goes over the basics of brain chemistry and talks about the major players that affect depression. Has a very nice illustration.

The Nervous System
Fairly comprehensive look at nerves, neurons, neurotransmission and a whole lot more. Understandable for those who have taken high school biology.

Very nice simplified explanation of the process of neurotransmission.

Neurotransmission Animated Movie
1.4 MB movie showing the movement of neurotransmitters.

Biologists Ponder...
"Just as clogged phone lines or misrouted signals can slow down or lock up a computer, misplaced molecules and malfunctioning nerve cells can slow down, confuse or lock up the mind."

Messengers of the Brain
A look at how messages that are transmitted from one nerve cell to another in the brain illustrates what can go wrong to cause mood disorders and discusses how medications help

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