Bipolar research is a multiple area research.  Studies cover various fields associated with the disorder.  Genetics, brain imaging techniques and biochemical studies are being collaboratively studied by the leading brains of the country in premier medical institutions. Their discoveries will help in diagnosing as well as treating these patients not only in this country but also the millions of people afflicted across the world.

One of the foremost areas of research is Genetics.  Extensive studies have substantially proven that genetic factors are the fundamental reasons for bipolar disorders. For the bipolar research, they have collated this data from studies of families which have a history of this disorder. Children of afflicted parents are adopted by non-afflicted patients yet show all the symptoms of bipolar disorders. Studies conducted on identical twins have proven that there are chances of three to eighty percent of the twins contracting the illness from parents.  The goal now is to identify the genes that cause the disorder and the associated brain protein codes.  This bipolar research will help the doctors develop diagnostic methods to cure the illness. There are ten research groups all over the world that are working on approximately 650 patients with bipolar disorder to locate the genes causing this disorder.

Another field of research is Brain Imaging.  Scientists are using advanced technology to study the brain and its deformities.  The bipolar research is focused on the location and identification of nerve circuits. As the communication between the interconnected nerve cells is the crux of the normal and abnormal behavior, researchers are trying to understand the abnormalities in the neural circuits.  This should eventually lead to better procedures for diagnosis and treatment.

Structural Imaging is an area of research that is very important for bipolar research.  Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI is used extensively to study the brain tissue structure to localize the causes of bipolar disorder. The goal of this research is to locate the differences in the brain structure between a normal and a bipolar afflicted person.  The most established finding has been the presence of lesions in the white brain matter of bipolar disorder patients.  In white brain matter, there is a fatty sheath which keeps the electronic circuitry within.  This abnormal white brain matter seems to be concentrated in the key areas of the brain where emotional processing occurs.

Functional neuroimaging is another area of bipolar research.  Positron Emission Tomography or PET is a technique used that measures the blood flow and glucose metabolism to measure the brain function.These  new studies will help millions of patients all over the world.

Reference

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/178116.php
http://www.iupui.edu/~bipolar/