Bipolar disorder and heart disease: study examines the connection

Uploaded by SunnybrookMedia on 14.10.2011


Bipolar disorder is one of the major mood disorders
affecting about 3 percent of the population.
Known in the past as manic depression, bipolar disorder involves episodes of
both extreme sadness and euphoria or irritability,
together with other symptoms, and often develops in the teen years.
For many people, bipolar disorder is also linked to heart problems
says Dr. Benjamin Goldstein, one of Canada's foremost experts
on this condition. People who have bipolar disorder
are at far increased risk for heart disease compared to the general population.
And this gives us cause for concern because they have onset of heart disease
at much earlier ages, about 10 to 15 years younger than the general population.
That's why Sunnybrook is leading a
innovative new study. For the first time, comparing
blood vessel functioning of teens with bipolar disorder and healthy teens
to look for clues about heart disease risk. They'll do that by
using high-resolution ultrasound a blood test.
Teenagers are at very low risk of having a heart attack during their teenage years but we do have
a proxy for heart disease risk which is called endothelial function.
It's a marker of how healthy blood vessels are and we can measure this in
people's arms in a non-invasive and painless way. And what we're looking at testing the hypothesis
that certain proteins that have been linked with bipolar disorder such as
markers of inflammation and markers of
brain health, may explain some of the difference between patients with and without
bipolar disorder. About 10 patients have already been recruited
for this study, and Dr. Goldstein and his team plan to enroll another
65 over the next 2 years. The study will also
look at how different treatments may affect the risk disease in
people with bipolar disorder. For more information, visit the Sunnybrook website.