Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that affects nearly six million Americans, equally affecting men, women, all races, ethnic groups, and socioeconomic classes. It is characterized by extreme fluctuations in mood from mania to depression. Someone suffering from this debilitating disorder can engage in risky behavior, damage relationships, and even have suicidal tendencies if it is not treated. Although the cause of bipolar disorder still remains a mystery to scientists, a new study may solve one of the causes.

A study was published in the online journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences which stated that researchers have unearthed new information regarding genetic predispositions to the disease. The research states the cause of bipolar disorder may be linked to an accumulation of rare forms of types of genes that regulate the action of nerve cells. Co-author of the study, Jared Roach, a geneticist at the Seattle-based Institute for Systems Biology, explained there are a multitude of diverse variants in many genes that contribute to the possibility of a genetic risk for bipolar disorder.

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