Necessity of research
Bipolar disorder is characterized by recurrent manic and depressive episodes. Although patients can finally recover from those episodes, repeated manic and depressed episodes can lead to social sequelae and sever disturbance in life. Regrettably, many people have lost their families with bipolar disorder due to suicide.
Currently, it is possible to prevent recurrence in many cases by mood stabilizers such as lithium and lamotrigine as well as atypical antipsychotic drugs such as quetiapine. In spite of this, there are many patients who experience repeated recurrence. Some cases have relapses due to insufficient efficacy of drugs. Some patients stop taking medication because of side effects or they thought that medication would not be necessary anymore.
If we can develop a test that can let them know if prophylactic medication is necessary, more patients will be helped by current medicines.
And if we can develop drugs with more efficacy and fewer side effects, patients with bipolar disorder can live a life as if they are suffering from hypertension.
If these happen, we think that society’s view on this disease will definitely change.
Therefore, we aim to elucidate the cause of bipolar disorder, aim to develop diagnostic methods and new treatment, and are doing research.
Necessity of research expenses
For research, human resource is most important. In addition, to do research, we need many research equipment and reagents. Only a small part of members of our team are employed through grants to RIKEN, and most members are hired through competitive grants, such as the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (MEXT) and the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED).
The term of these research grants are a maximum of five years, and we will not be able to maintain research unless we earn the next research fund before the expiration date. Under such difficult circumstances, we are continuing our efforts to keep doing research somehow.
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