Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for Bipolar

Peter ForsterBipolar Treatment, Treatments of Depression

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for Bipolar May Reduce Anxiety and Improved Cognitive Function Researchers in the Departments of Biology and Psychiatry at University of Cape Town, in Western Cape, South Africa, recently reported results from a study in which 23 bipolar patients received neuropsychological tests and functional MRI scans before and after a Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy 8 week program. The study showed increased …

Mania and Depression Sequence

Peter ForsterBest Practices, Bipolar Treatment

One of the key features of bipolar disorder that, in our experience, is most useful in predicting treatment response is the usual sequence of manic (or hypomanic) and depressive episodes. For years we have used the mnemonics MDI and DMI as ways of categorizing patients’ course. But we could not find the reference to that idea. We are indebted to …

Lithium Prevents Suicide

Peter ForsterBipolar Treatment

This has been a year with lots of useful information highlighting the continued importance of some of the oldest treatments for bipolar disorder: lithium salts. A New York Times Magazine article (“I Don’t Believe in Good but I Believe in LIthium”) about bipolar focused on lithium, and another New York Times article a year before that asked the question “Should We …

Genetics of bipolar disorder – update

Peter ForsterPsychobiology

Unraveling the genetics of bipolar disorder has been a much more complicated task than anyone thought. Although the best estimates suggest that genetic factors account for the very high percentage of the risk of developing bipolar, with an estimated an estimated 0.7 to 0.8 heritability (Sullivan), it has been remarkably difficult to find genes with significant individual effects that are replicated …

Lithium and Genes

Peter ForsterBipolar Treatment, Psychobiology, Testing

Several studies have suggested that lithium response has a genetic component. Whether someone with bipolar will respond to treatment with lithium seems to be strongly associated with the presence or absence of a family history of response to the medication. A recent article in the Lancet reports the results of a genome-wide association study of lithium response in 2563 patients collected …

Sheri Johnson Presents on Mania

Peter ForsterAbout GPS, Bipolar Treatment

Every month the clinical team at Gateway Psychiatric gets together to review cases and to hear presentations on topics related to the treatment of patients with mood disorders and this past month we heard from Dr. Sheri Johnson at the University of California, Berkeley who talk to us about the CalMania project and her own work with patients with bipolar. …

Pregnancy and Mental Health

Peter ForsterMajor Depression, Physical Conditions and Health

This past week, a colleague at UCSF, Dr. Anna Glezer, wrote to let me know about a new patient-centered informational website she is launching focused on issues related to pregnancy and mental health. It’s called Mind Body Pregnancy, and she started it because in her reproductive psychiatry practice she was finding many patients asking similar questions. She wanted to reach beyond just those she is able to see in clinic and …

Bipolar Movie – Here One Day

Kelsey SchraufnagelGeneral

Conversation with Kathy Leichter, Director of Here One Day We had the absolute pleasure of talking with director Kathy Leichter about her experience of making her movie, Here One Day.  Here One Day is an intimate look into her mother’s experience with Bipolar Disorder and as well as her own, as her daughter. Question: How did you come up with …

Bipolar Depression Update

Peter ForsterBipolar Treatment, GPS Update

On Thursday at noon Dr. Peter Forster, our clinical director, will be giving a presentation to the UCSF Department of Psychiatry Mood Disorder Grand Rounds on the topic of “Bipolar Depression: An Update.” He will be reviewing the recent literature on new treatment options and will summarize some of the talk findings in a future blog post.    

Brain Differences in Bipolar Disorder Type 1 Versus 2

Peter ForsterPsychobiology

A study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders in December 2014 looked at differences in the brains of people with Bipolar 1 versus Bipolar 2 disorders. It suggested that there might be quite significant differences in brain structure and function in bipolar one as opposed to bipolar 2 patients. The authors used 2 different techniques for imaging brains: one …