Lithium is commonly used to address a series of psychiatric conditions, including bipolar disorders (BPD). However, a new investigation suggests that patients' genetic makeup plays an important role in determining whether or not the chemical will be effective in treating these health issues.
According to Dr. Robert Beech, a researcher at the Yale University School of Medicine, around 127 genes that influence lithium's effectiveness have been discovered to date. The activation patterns these genes display can essentially augment or diminish the chemical's effects on the human brain.
“Understanding these differences in genes expression may lead towards personalized treatment for bipolar disorder in the future,” says Beech, quoted by PsychCentral
. He explains that the new study lasted only a few weeks, which gave scientists enough time to see shifting genetic activation patterns.