For roughly one-third of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder, lithium is a miracle drug, effectively treating both their mania and depression. But once someone is diagnosed, it can take up to a year to learn whether that person will be among the 30 percent who respond to lithium. Salk Professor Rusty Gage, co–first authors Shani Stern and Renata Santos and colleagues report a way to predict, from neuronal firing patterns and with 92 percent accuracy, whether an individual with bipolar disorder will be a lithium responder. The work, which appeared online in Molecular Psychiatry on February 28, 2017, validates the lab’s 2015 discovery of a cellular basis for the disorder and could benefit not only those who will respond to lithium but also the vast majority who will not, sparing them an ineffective treatment.
- Untangling the mysteries of the spinal cordConverging research and innovative technologies are tackling some of the deadliest motor diseases.
- An interview with Diana HargreavesInside Salk talked with Hargreaves about why she prefers smaller intellectual environments, what excites her about the science she does at the Institute, and how she thinks about being a woman in science.
- Delving into the best of both worlds with Shani SternAs the only electrophysiologist in the lab, Stern uses her engineering expertise to delve into the biological mysteries that most intrigue her, particularly bipolar disorder.