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By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on May 25, 2011


Although motor deficits often accompany a mood or psychiatric disorder, most researchers have not targeted motor areas as a method to improve mental health. In a new study, researchers at Indiana University suggests that postural control problems may be a core feature of bipolar disorder, not just a random symptom.


The investigators believe attention to the postural problems can provide insights both into areas of the brain affected by the psychiatric disorder and new potential targets for treatment.


Bipolar disorder is a severe psychiatric disorder characterized by extreme, debilitating mood swings and unusual shifts in a person’s energy and ability to function.


Balance, postural control and other motor control issues are frequently experienced by people with mood and psychiatric disorders such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and neurological disorders such as Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease.


In this study, published in the journal PLoS ONE, researchers surmised that problems with postural control — maintaining balance while holding oneself upright — are a core component of bipolar disorder.


As such, the researchers believe it is possible that the motor abnormalities could appear before other symptoms, signaling an increased risk for the disorder. According, researchers wanted to know if therapies that improve motor symptoms may also help mood disorders.


“For a number of psychological disorders, many different psychiatric treatments and therapies have been tried, with marginal effects over the long term. Researchers are really starting to look at new targets,” said Amanda Bolbecker, Ph.D., lead author of the study.


“Our study suggests that brain areas traditionally believed to be responsible for motor behavior might represent therapeutic targets for bipolar disorder.”


Read in Full:

http://psychcentral.com/news/2011/05/25/postural-problems-a-sign-of-bipolar-illness/26467.html



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