The study analyzed the genetic make-up of 305 children with bipolar disorder. They were compared with 140 controls.
Results show a positive association between bipolar disorder and four variants of the RORB gene. The authors suggest that this gene may be an important target in the search for the molecular basis of bipolar disorder.
The study also notes that bipolar disorder often involves a decreased need for sleep. This symptom helps discriminate children with bipolar disorder from those with ADHD.
The NIMH reports that bipolar disorder is a brain disorder. It is also known as manic-depressive illness.
It causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels and the ability to carry out daily tasks. These symptoms tend to be severe.
Bipolar disorder often develops in a person's late teens or early adult years. But some people have their first symptoms during childhood.
The disorder tends to run in families. Children are four to six times more likely to develop bipolar disorder if a parent or sibling has the illness.
Currently there is no cure for bipolar disorder. But ongoing treatment can help control the mood swings and other symptoms.
In 2008 FRONTLINE reported that bipolar disorder was long believed to exist only in adults. But in the mid-1990s it began to be diagnosed at much higher rates in children. Now one million children in the U.S. have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Earlier this year the Sleep Education Blog reported that sleep problems in children may predict the future onset of depression. Learn more about sleep and children.
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