The question of “Why the unaffected siblings are healthy although they share the similar brain changes” is of importance. The researchers in the SoCAT laboratory seem to find an answer to the question
One of every hundred person suffers from bipolar illness (i.e. manic depressive disorder). Bipolar illness causes difficulties in the life of the patients and their families. Although this disorder is frequent and devastating our knowledge of ultimate causes of the illness is very limited. It is thought that the illness stems from a dysfunction including several brain regions; however, the mechanism remains unknown.
A research conducted by Psychiatry and Neuroradiology departments of Ege University School of Medicine within the framework of SoCAT projects demonstrates a step forward in understanding the bipolar illness. The research named “Structural brain changes in bipolar patients and their healthy siblings” was conducted by the research grants of Ege University School of Medicine (2010-TIP-029) and International Society for Bipolar Disorders – Turkish Bipolar Society with advanced techniques of neuro-imaging and image-analysis revealed that that bipolar patients and their healthy siblings share similar brain changes in several brain areas (i.e. orbito-frontal cortex and cerebellum). The question of “Why the unaffected siblings are healthy although they share the similar brain changes” is of importance. The researchers in the SoCAT laboratory seem to find an answer to the question: A brain region called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex which regulates emotions in a higher order is found to be larger in the brains of healthy siblings in their study.
A and B: Regions of volume difference in the brains of patients and their healthy siblings
C: Region of larger brain volume in healthy siblings.
The study is going to be published in the most prominent scientific journal in the field of bipolar disorders, An International Journal of Psychiatry and Neurosciences - Bipolar Disorders, with the title of "Brain regions associated with risk and resistance for bipolar I disorder: a voxel-based MRI study of bipolar patients and their healthy siblings” and an abstract will be released soon at the SoCAT website: http://depresyonriski.com.