Heredity of Bipolar Disorder

This article describes the meaning of bipolar disorder and the causes of it, starting with hormonal which will then lead to genetics. Bipolar disorder is usually seen as a disease discussed in most psychological aspects but the actual genetic factors beh

Emotions are so confusing.  One day you are feeling super excited and happy as if your on top of the world, and the next thing you know, your ready to strangle the next person who tries to ruin the day.  This type of rapid change of emotions and feelings is scientifically coined bipolar disorder.  Bipolarity is described as the sudden shift in an individual’s behavior, (his emotions, actions, and sense of thinking) causing one to behave as a maniacally depressed person at certain instances (Bipolar Disorder Health Center). The term “maniacally” implies acting without consciousness, otherwise known as lashing out. Research from many centuries ago has shown that this type of disorder is related to the mind and its function, and it also contains genetic factors.  This article will begin by discussing the chemicals which assist the brain to function normally, and then will focus on the genetic factors of this condition. 

            There are chemicals in the brain structure which must be present in the correct amounts in order for a person to behave normally.  Neurotransmitters are brain chemicals which move information and messages from one section to another.  Researchers have came to the conclusion that an imbalance in neurotransmitter activity causes an increase in this type of disorder because clear messages are not being sent through your brain (Bipolar Disorder Health Center).  Three types of enzymes which are responsible for this activity is noradrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine. The first two of these enzymes are responsible for maintaining the psychiatric mode of a person’s behavior, meaning how much happiness they feel at certain times. Any type of disturbance to the level of activity in these chemicals will cause an increase in bipolarity, and this type of chemical wiring and carrying out of actions has been known to be passed on from one generation to the next.

            Current research has looked into “genetic linkage” studies to find the specific pattern between families and this disorder.  It has been stated that there is about 40 % to 90 % chance that identical twins will be affected by their parents (Causes of Bipolar Disorder: What causes Bipolar Disorder)?  The biological process begins with an affected mother, containing an allele X and Y found at some DNA marker. On the other hand, an unaffected father will contain alleles U and V.  Usually a mother will transmit allele “Y” to the affected child while allele “X” will be transmitted to the unaffected child (Bipolar Disorder: Review of Molecular Genetic Linkage Studies).  Overall, there is a 50 % chance that a parent will transmit each of these alleles (Bipolar Disorder: Review of Molecular Genetic Linkage Studies).  The conclusion which can be made is that a pair of affected siblings have a higher chance of sharing allele pairs when the DNA marker alleles are close to a disease gene. Overall, family linkage and pedigree analysis are very common methods of tracking the genetics of bipolar disorder.

Works Cited

Bipolar Disorder Health Center

Bipolar Disorder: Review of Molecular Genetic Linkage Studies

Cause of bipolar disorder: Biological and Hereditary Aspects

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