What are endophenotypes in bipolar affective disorder (manic-depressive illness)?

Updated: May 06, 2018
  • Author: Stephen Soreff, MD; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Answer

Although large-scale association studies of bipolar disorder are beginning to yield results, one of the greatest obstacles to finding genes for such complex behavior is the imprecision inherent in diagnosis of the disorder itself; objective criteria are lacking. Therefore, some of the most exciting recent research is focused on defining heritable, quantitative diagnostic measures that capture specific features of bipolar disorder (termed endophenotypes) to refine the search for responsible genes. [27] Such promising measures for bipolar disorder include structural brain phenotypes, sleep and activity measures, neurocognitive measures, and gene expression studies. [28] This collaborative research effort under the aegis of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has been termed the Bipolar Phenome Project. [29]


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