Mood Disorders Research
The Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Bipolar Disorders Clinic at Stanford University are implementing a study of psychological and psychiatric aspects of children of parents with bipolar disorder.
Researchers and clinicians are seeing a dramatic rise in the rate of mood disorders in children. However, it is difficult to accurately diagnose mood disorders in children, and the development of the illness is not well understood. Children often present with symptoms which are complex and which are different from the typical pattern of symptoms seen in adults. Thus it is difficult to predict what course childhood disorders will take as these children mature into adulthood and also difficult to know how to treat these disorders. It is therefore important to better describe childhood mood disorders for recognition and treatment.
Children of parents with mood disorders (such as major depression, dysthymia, bipolar disorder, cyclothymia) are at risk for developing mood disorders themselves. This risk may be as high as 24% if many relatives have mood disorders. Children with only one parent with bipolar disorder appear to have about a 14% chance of developing bipolar disorder themselves. High rates of other mood disorders such as depression, dysthymia (chronic mild depression) and cyclothymia (mild mood swings) in children of parents with bipolar disorder have also been reported.
Pediatric Bipolar Disorder Brain Imaging Study
We are using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study children with bipolar disorder, who have a parent with bipolar disorder. Children must be 9 to 18 years old and may be taking medication. MRI is an exciting new tool that does not involve radiation. Participants receive free diagnostic evaluation and brain imaging. There is payment for participation in this study.
We are also looking for children 9 to 18 years old, who do not have a psychiatric disorder or a family history of bipolar disorder for brain imaging. These participants are also paid.
Please contact the Pediatric Bipolar Disorders Program staff at (650) 725-6760 for more information.