Introduction to JBRF Sponsored Research
In an effort to promote a better understanding of the illness experienced by many children and frequently diagnosed as bipolar disorder, the JBRF funds research by independent investigators who have come together to form a scientific consortium.
The data used by the consortium comes from the clinical data generated by the JBRF website. Since 2001, JBRF has collected symptom data from over 19,000 affected children. This is a unique resource and the largest source of such information in the world.
These large data sets have provided the opportunity for investigators to explore the parameters of the illness. The research has delineated a new and important profile of behaviors and symptoms experienced by the majority of children currently diagnosed with bipolar disorder. This new view of the illness has been very productive in terms of revealing the neurological and physiological conditions which may cause it.
The success of the approach may lie in the fact the investigative method which led to the new profile is consistent with current trends in neuroscience research rather than the research approaches which have been relied upon during the past several decades.
Over the past several years, research by the consortium has led to:
- A newly defined syndrome, based on a heritable trait, which describes a severe, often treatment-resistant illness.
- A neuroanatomical model of the illness. This is the first of its kind for a mental disorder.
- The selection of a specific treatment due to a hypothesis of the pathology. Typically, effective treatments are identified fortuitously and then lead to clues of pathology.
- A pilot study in which, as of April 2013, the treatment has been used on over 60 children described by the illness. It has demonstrated significant efficacy.
- The initiation of a study to document evidence of that treatment efficacy.
- A putative biomarker for the condition which, in ongoing studies, shows great promise. Such a marker would allow for an objective diagnostic test for the condition.