updated 9/27/2010 2:17:26 PM ET 2010-09-27T18:17:26

PASADENA, Calif., Sept. 27, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder affect 3% to 4% of the world's population, or about 222 million adults worldwide. In the United States, bipolar disorder affects about 5.7 million adult Americans 18 and older.   Bipolar disorder, or manic depression, is a serious brain disorder that causes extreme shifts in mood, energy and functioning. People with the disorder experience episodes of mania and depression that can last from days to months. These symptoms usually begin in late adolescence, but can begin in early childhood or as late as a person's 40s or 50s. There is a strong genetic component related to bipolar disorder.

With funding from the National Institute of Mental Health, USC and Las Encinas are looking for people 18 years old or older who have bipolar disorder (manic depressive illness) and people who have a personal and family mental health history. Participants will be paid $50 for participating and they will be helping researchers with the difficult task of finding the causes of bipolar disorder. Participant confidentiality is guaranteed.

"This is a very important study and finding relevant genes could lead to the development of better treatments for those suffering from Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.   We are very excited about working with USC and hope that the results will provide a new approach to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Participants will be making a contribution to state-of-the-art medical research and will be helping to improve the lives of others," said Jerry Conway, Las Encinas Hospital's CEO.  

In order to assist patients and families interested in advancing research that may ultimately lead to better treatment options, Las Encinas Hospital hosts a weekly research clinic onsite at Las Encinas in collaboration with USC.

Study Overview

  • Research has shown that genes can make some people more likely to develop manic depression (bipolar disorder) or schizophrenia. A team of international researchers is attempting to find these genes.   Identifying these genes would help to understand the brain mechanisms involved in bipolar and other related disorders. Finding the relevant genes could lead to the discovery of better treatments
  • Despite advances in treatment, complete recovery is often not possible and the disabilities can be long lasting and severe. Finding the responsible genes may ultimately lead to prevention of bipolar disorder
  • Research for this project is performed in Southern California, Massachusetts, New York, Georgia, North Carolina and Ohio
  • The Center for Genomic Psychiatry at the University of Southern California is the Southern California research hub. To make participating more accessible locally, Las Encinas Hospital hosts a clinic for USC weekly onsite in Pasadena
  • Internationally renowned USC husband & wife team from San Gabriel Valley - Carlos N. Pato M.D.,PhD and Michele T. Pato, M.D. are the lead investigators

For study information or to enroll, call (866)689-1443 or e-mail Psych.genetics@usc.edu and request to participate onsite at Las Encinas Hospital in Pasadena. You can also contact the Center for Genomic Psychiatry Department of Psychiatry & the Behavioral Sciences University of Southern California 2250 Alcazar Street, CSC 2212 Los Angeles, CA 90033-0974

About Aurora Las Encinas

Aurora Las Encinas is a private, psychiatric hospital established in Pasadena, CA in 1904, and is owned by Signature Health Care. The hospital treats patients for mental health and substance abuse problems. Las Encinas currently has over 90 medical staff and allied healthcare professionals, over 100 nurses and over 300 employees. The hospital currently has 118 beds and provides services that range from basic residential care to a full spectrum of behavioral treatment. It has grown from a small, community hospital to a sophisticated healthcare organization. For more information about Las Encinas Hospital please visit www.lasencinashospital.com

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