March 2, 2017
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Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Fund's E-newsletter
This e-newsletter has been sent to you because you are a friend or past supporter of the Prechter Fund at the University of Michigan Depression Center
Prechter Fund-developed PRIORI app to get first test in patients outside Michigan
$2.9 million grant supports study of suicide risk assessment


A multidisciplinary team from Care New England's Butler Hospital, Brown University and the University of Michigan has come together to advance screening capabilities for suicide risk. The group received a $2.9 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to conduct a five-year research study utilizing innovative smartphone technology. Using the smartphone app PRIORI (Predicting Individual Outcomes for Rapid Intervention) designed by the Prechter bipolar research team at the University of Michigan, researchers will record and analyze changes in speech patterns to identify how they relate to changes in suicide risk. 

The tenth leading cause of death in the United States, suicide is responsible for 42,000 deaths in the country each year. Although there are many known risk factors for suicide, the majority of individuals who have these risk factors do not go on to attempt suicide – pointing to the importance of identifying new strategic risk factors for suicidal thoughts and behaviors. 

Read the entire press release here.
Collaborative research drives success 

Scientific research has evolved over the decades from comprising primarily simple, well-controlled studies to complex, multi-faceted ones. Partnering with other experts is an integral part of our research mission -- we do the best work when dedicated people with a shared vision come together. 
Visit this page to find out more about a selection of the Prechter team's partnerships and collaborations across the University of Michigan and beyond.

K. Sue O’Shea, Ph.D.                    Emily Mower Provost, Ph.D.         Ethan Kross, Ph.D.
Department of Cell and                 College of Engineering                   Department of Psychology
Developmental Biology

A complete list of all our research collaborations can be found here
Prechter Fund collaboration with the Jenkins Lab at the University of Michigan Department of Pharmacology

The lab studies the basic cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying complex neuropsychiatric diseases, such as bipolar disorder, using confocal microscopy, molecular and cell biology, transgenic mouse models, and biochemistry.

Bipolar disorder is a highly heritable disorder, which means that it is strongly linked to the patient’s genetic background. Because of this strong genetic component, there has been a great deal of effort to understand the genes that underlie susceptibility to this disorder. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have examined mutations and other changes to the genetic material (DNA) in bipolar disorder patients, which has given us insight into the genes that could play a role in the development of psychiatric disease. One of the strongest and most-replicated leads from these studies is the ANK3 gene, which encodes the protein ankyrin-G.

Using genetically-modified mouse models, the Jenkins laboratory is working to understand the role of ankyrin-G in normal brain development and function. Ankyrin-G is a critical protein in neurons that organizes signaling molecules on the surface of the cell, which is necessary for the neurons to communicate effectively with each other. Alterations in these connections lead to disorganized signaling in the brain, reminiscent of those seen in patients with bipolar disorder. By understanding the mechanisms regulating the formation of networks of neurons, hopefully we can identify new therapeutic targets for the restoration of these critical neuronal connections. Read more on our website.

Ankyrin-G (red) is responsible for building synapses, or connections between neurons, in the brain. Synapses are marked with a transporter for neurotransmitters (green).

Mitzi B. tells us about living with bipolar, receiving her diagnosis, and her favorite coping skills

"A friend scooped me up off the floor of my closet and took me to a psychiatrist. It took him 20 minutes peppering with me questions, and confirming with my husband that I wasn't lying, to diagnose me with Bipolar II disorder. This was 9 years ago. I was 42 years old."    
Read Mitzi's full story here.
Save-the-Date: 2017 Prechter Lecture
Wednesday, November 8th, 6 – 9 p.m. at the Kahn Auditorium, University of Michigan
Our keynote speaker will be Marya Hornbacher, award-winning journalist and bestselling author. Her memoir, Madness: A Bipolar Life, was published to enormous praise. Madness is “an intense, beautifully written” book about the difficulties, and promise, of living with mental illness. Find out more about Marya on her website. 
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The mission of the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Fund is to provide a repository of longitudinal clinical, genetic, and biological data to investigators worldwide for collaborative research on the causes, prevention, and treatment of bipolar disorder.
© 2017 Regents of the University of Michigan

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Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Fund | University of Michigan Depression Center 4250 Plymouth Road | Ann Arbor | MI | 48109-2700 
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