Bipolar Research at IU


Collaborative Genomic Study of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mood (affective) disorder characterized by the occurrence of alternating feelings of excitement(mania) and depression. It is a serious condition and potentially life-threatening. It affects 1% to 2% of the population. Yet, of the estimated 2.2 million Americans suffering from the disorder, many of whom remain untreated. One out of six of these will commit suicide. Early identification and medical management can make a difference and can prevent damage to personal life and family relationships that may occur without treatment.

We know that manic depression (bipolar disorder) has heritable factors (genes). However, the mode of inheritance is poorly understood. The goal of this research study is to detect and localize the genes that increase or decrease chances of developing bipolar disorder and related conditions. Our aim is to compile a national archival database for bipolar disorder (a gene bank) that can provide us and other researchers large, well-categorized samples for genetic studies. The current evidence in the field suggests there may be multiple genes involved in these disorders. More families are needed to aid us in this endeavor.

Participation Description

(Note: Enrollment is currently limited to individuals with children between the ages of 12 and 21)

Each participant is asked to complete a diagnostic interview, answer questions about their family history, and donate a small blood sample for DNA testing. For people who live too far away to visit the Institute (on the I.U. Medical Center Campus in Indianapolis), the interview can be done either by telephone or by researchers traveling to you.  Blood samples can be drawn by local physicians and mailed into the laboratory if a visit is not possible.  All information obtained will be held in strict confidence, including within the family.   No family members will be contacted without the prior permission of the relative who supplies the contact information.  A structured psychiatric assessment is done free of charge. If symptoms exist, appropriate referrals can be made and information regarding resources and treatment for mood problems can be provided.

The Principal Investigator of this project is John I. Nurnberger, Jr., M.D., Ph.D.


The following survey is designed to collect information about your history of mood disorders to enable our researchers to determine whether you are likely to meet our criteria for inclusion in the study.

Click here to express interest in participating in our study.

Bipolar Survey

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Last updated: April 29, 2008.