So I sent the email, and as Brandon and I are waiting for the response, we decided to do research on treatments of bipolar disorder. (The email we sent is at the bottom of this blog) A few days ago, I was online and stumbled upon a news article, Bipolar Disorder Treatment: Brain Cells May Reveal Why Lithium Doesn’t Work For Everyone. I remembered reading about Lithium as a widely used treatment from earlier research. In light of this finding, I looked up why Lithium is a popular treatment for bipolar disorder. I know that Brandon is doing research on the treatments, and I have already shared this finding with him.
Lithium helps lessen the severity and occurrence of mania and helps relieve bipolar depression. Studies showed that lithium might reduce the risk of suicide and helps assuage and prevent manic and depressive incidents. Lithium affects one’s central nervous system to help stabilize one’s mood. Though scientists are not completely sure how the lithium works in the body to stabilize, but have hypothesized that it strengthens nerve cell connections around the brain that controls mood, thinking, and behavior.
So the article is recent: it was posted on October 28th, 2015. This article included a study that involved six bipolar patients. Skin samples were taken and reprogrammed the cell samples from each person into stem cells, the coaxed them to turn them into neurons. The induced bipolar neurons were studied and compared to non-bipolar neurons. The bipolar neurons are sensitive and do not need a very strong activation for a response. The bipolar neurons behaved differently post the lithium contact. The lithium-exposed cells that did respond to the lithium had weakened excitability. While the cells that were not exposed to lithium continued to be hyper-excitable. This proved that there is a difference between the tested cells and is a start to discovering exactly why lithium works in only certain patients.
So, even though this article did not provide a specific answer of why exactly Lithium does not work for all patients, I’m glad that it at least narrowed it down saying that it might be because of the brain cells. I hope to keep posted about this continuous discovery.
I began this blog last week and now I am writing this part on Monday. Brandon and I received one email back. It was from Pr. Isabelle Durand-Zaleski. She said that she is honored and interested in our proposal and research. I am glad that she replied and is interested in our project, but I don’t think she had access to the survey. I did not find anything attached to the email, so we are still waiting to see if we could gain access to the survey.
Photo: “bipolar-disorder-medications-01.” Gero Guide. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Nov. 2015.
Dear Doctor Durand-Zaleski, Doctor Scott, Doctor Rouillon, and Doctor Leboyer,
We are seniors at Westtown School doing independent research on bipolar disorder. Our goal is to take what we learn about bipolar disorder and give a survey to our high school in order to gain insight into their understanding of bipolar disorder and mental illnesses. Westtown School, where we have both been a students for four years, is a private, Quaker school outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (http://www.westtown.edu) Westtown has students from over 20 different states and 20 different countries! Westtown puts an emphasis on each student’s academic growth and challenges each student to broaden their perspective and think about the world. Westtown has taught us the importance of learning and applying our knowledge to the real world. Brandon experienced the illness first hand, living with his father who had bipolar disorder. Due to this connection, we have dedicated this semester to diving into a deeper understanding of bipolar disorder. Based on our research we write weekly blog posts about what we learned. In January we will present the information learned to the Westtown Upper School students and an academic committee.
We were researching and came upon your article, A First National Survey of Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviours Towards Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorders and Autism in France. Our faculty advisor has guided us towards using an existing survey so we can gauge the results of our school against the results of a large-scale study. Despite the fact that your survey was done in France, not the United States, we find both the survey and results relevant to our project. We think that it would be beneficial to our research within the Westtown School community to administer your survey. Collecting results will not only give us an idea of our community’s insight, but also teach us how to measure and analyze results. We are writing to you now to ask your permission to proceed with this.
If given the opportunity, we would ask our entire high school to take the survey; this would be 366 people. We would collect all of the data, compare results within our school and with the results of your study. If you would like, we could share our results with you.
If you would like to know more about what we are doing, you could contact our mentor, Kiara Gardner firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com>. We have also been working with the director of learning at Westtown, and her email is firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com>. If you are interested in our prior work, here is a link to our blog https://independentseminarblog.com/category/psychology/.
We will share the results from the survey with you first and if given permission we would write about them on our blog. Thank you for considering our request. We look forward to hearing from you.
Lily Magliente and Brandon Lee