Author Archives: lmagliente

The Finish Line- Lily

I feel like I’m at the last 100 meters of my 800 meter race. I have finished most of the run but these last 100 meters are pivotal to my success. I have finished all of my research and collected all of the surveys, but Brandon and I are still working to analyze all of the results. This is the most important push of our project because we plan to center the rest of our project on the surveys that we handed out and then include the results in our presentation. So Brandon and I want to find patterns within the survey and share that at the upper school independent research assembly. My hope is to find common misperceptions or understandings of bipolar disorder within the surveys and share those facts in the assembly. With all of the knowledge I had gained this semester through my research, and now that I know where our community lacks knowledge of mental disorders, I believe Brandon and I have a responsibility to inform the community of bipolar disorder.

Regarding the survey, we met with T. Deb to see if she had any suggestions on ways to sort through the surveys, who then directed us to T. Alicia. Not satisfied with the suggestions from T. Alicia because of the complexity of the site she offered, we went to the library, and then Kiara. We liked T. Kiara’s advice the best: we skimmed over all of the surveys and took note of any patterns. Then Brandon and I talked about the results and inferred why some people answered certain answers the way they did. For example, I found that the people who noted that they have a mental disorder, or have a family member with a mental disorder, responded more in depth to the question of what they think America’s research of mental disorder is, and whether or not it should be a priority. The longer answers came from the respondents who were personally connected to the topic, and therefore have a stronger opinion, than someone who is not connected to mental illnesses. We just met with Kiara with all of the surveys. She helped us plan our presentation and gave us advice on how to present our results, for example make a word chart of the most commonly used words in the survey, for the question asking terms one associates with mental illness. We have also been working on finishing the annotated bibliography. Brandon and I have made a lot of progress but still have this last sprint until the end of semester!


Photo: Finish Line. Maguzz. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Dec. 2015 < Finishing-line.jpg&gt;.

Yay! A received survey!! -Lily

Yay! Brandon and I now have access to the famous survey we’ve been talking all about! So this is the first national survey pertaining to the public knowledge, attitudes and behaviors towards schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism. 1,000 adults were tested through a research group and answered 21 questions. These questions explored the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors towards the given disorders.

We thought it would be beneficial to bring this survey to Westtown. It is important, as researchers of bipolar disorder, to understand how informed our school is on bipolar disorder. I hope that I can inform my peers and community about my research of bipolar disorder, so they can then have a more rounded knowledge of the disorder. We hope that we can have the majority of students take this survey and we can then gauge the student body’s knowledge of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and autism. We offered to share our results with the doctors, hoping it could be useful or interesting to them because they only tested a select faction of the French population.

I think Westtown will have similar results. 95% of the participants identified the names of each disorder, but less than 70% successfully identified the characteristics that corresponded with the disorders. I think Westtown results will show a similarly high percentage of students acknowledging the disorder, but might have a lower percentage of being able to identify the disorders. Students may not have much experience with the disorders, and therefore cannot point out the characteristics that go along with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or autism. 65% of the respondents agreed in social distancing from schizophrenic patients because they are assumed to be dangerous. I think the Westtown percentage will be lower, because we are constantly exposed to being out of our comfort zone and talking to new people. Westtown is more accepting of situations that a non-Westtown student may feel uncomfortable in. The 65% who thought to remove themselves from the situation of a schizophrenic person probably do not have much knowledge of schizophrenia, and relied on prejudgments that drove them to want to walk away. Westtown students would not have as much of a problem with interacting or being in proximity of a schizophrenic patient because Westtown exposes the students to new and different situations on the daily. For example, meeting, students, teachers, or guests with very different demographics or beliefs, and interacting with a schizophrenic person would not be assessed as much different than any other time we have had to step out of our comfort zone to learn or meet people.

The conclusion of this survey is that the attitudes towards people affected with either bipolar disorder or autism are less prejudicial than towards people with schizophrenia. Assumptions drive one’s attitude and behavior towards disorders, rather than one’s knowledge or evidence of information of disorders.

I am excited to analyze the survey results at Westtown and identify will students’ stigmas towards mental disorders. Brandon and I have been talking to T. Deb and Kiara, making sure that this survey is the best that it can be. We want it to be beneficial to our research, but also want it to be concise for the students. So, we will write on the top of the handed out survey that this is only a template of the survey, and also give an overview of our semester project. Maybe you’ll even receive the survey! If so, we’d love to hear your feedback!

PS Brandon and I are working on the formatting of the survey, but if you want to take a peek at it, here you go! I don’t know how to make it public, but request access through gmail and I’ll let you see it! 🙂


Photo: Taking a survey. Truth About Deception. Truth About Deception, n.d. Web. 9 Nov.
2015. <

A response? And some more research- Lily

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.

Lithium is used as a mood stabilizer for Bipolar Disorder. The prescription form is Lithium Carbonate.

Lithium is used as a mood stabilizer for Bipolar Disorder. The prescription form is Lithium Carbonate.

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. ( 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<>. We have also been working with the director of learning at Westtown, and her email is<>. If you are interested in our prior work, here is a link to our blog
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

Exciting things planned!- Lily

Brandon and I started off this week with meeting with T. Deb. She was able to give us insight of where the two of us might want to go from here. We all agreed that our research so far has been successful, and hope that the next steps would be to continue research on treatments. We hope to find a survey about bipolar disorder and give that out to the upper school. Continue reading

Premorbid!? And Comparing Social functioning- Lily

The article is called Premorbid Social Functioning in Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder: Similarities and Differences. (I found it through ProQuest but then found it on Google, so people who might want to open it do not need Westtown’s database) So first, I did not know what premorbid meant. I thought it had something to do with death, but it actually means the preceding symptoms of a given disease. Continue reading

Stigma, Functionality, and Bipolar Disorder- Lily

This past week I read a few articles on functionality and stigmas of bipolar disorder. One certain article really stood out to me, Stigma: A Core Factor On Predicting Functionality in Bipolar Disorder. This article presented hypothesizes and results of a group of 91 patients with bipolar disorder. Each person was given a questionnaire, which is made by the Scientific Section for Mood Disorders of the Psychiatric Association of Turkey. Functioning like emotional functioning, intellectual functioning, sexual functioning, feelings of stigmatization, social withdraw, household relations, relations with friends, participation to social activities, daily activities and hobbies, taking initiative and self sufficiency, and occupation, were all related to each bipolar patient depending on certain variables. A study that examined the influence of functioning in the patients: high scores of self-perceived stigma directly relates to lower scores of functioning, like mentioned previously.

The results included the relationship between demographic and medical variables with functioning. There was no proved relationship among functioning and sex, marital status, vocation, or psychotic-featured episodes. The variables that affected the bipolar patients’ functioning were, age, education, duration of disorder, number of hospitalizations, number of manic episode, number of depressive episodes, and duration of last remission period. These variables were all severity and linked to depression, internalized stigmatization, and perceived social support for the patient.

The article mentioned that the three predictors of functionality are depression, stigmatization, and social support. These were analyzed to further understand the effects of the variables of functioning. For example, the severity of depression correlated with internalized stigma. The results showed that internalized stigmatization is related to things like years of education, number of hospitalizations, depression and perceived social support. Sex relates to perceived social support, as males tend to perceive it less than females.

This article was interesting to me because it talked about all of the variables that connect to one’s disorder. Brandon and I are interested in social perceptions of bipolar patients. This article included a lot of information about how a bipolar patient functions according to certain variables. I wonder why males tend to feel less social support than females. I wonder if it could be because stereotypically males do not express their emotions, so they do not feel open to articulating and accepting emotions. This article did a good job of explaining and showing through the results of tests how certain aspects of a person relate to the severity of bipolar disorder.



[Social Interactions]. (n.d.). Retrieved from


What is bipolar disorder and the symptoms- Lily

Bipolar Disorder is also known as Manic-depressive illness. Those affected with this disorder undergo sudden shifts in moods, energy, and thinking. This is much more severe than being moody, for example one might go from being very happy to feeling depressed and abusive. It is estimated that about 3.5-6% of the population suffers from this mental disorder. Continue reading

Bipolar Disorder Research- Lily

Last year during an advisor collection, Brandon mentioned the idea of doing an independent project regarding psychology. This immediately intrigued me and I wanted to partake in this independent project. Brandon and I planned to take the Yale online course on psychology and conduct experiments to make it a hands-on learning experience. Our mentor, Kiara, who is very educated in psychology, recommended that we focus on a specific topic within psychology. We agreed to focus on mental illness. Continue reading