Bipolar disorder (BPD) is a severe psychiatric disorder characterized by manic and depressive episodes with periods of normal mood in between. Recent lines of evidence suggest that BPD is a more severe illness that previously believed and it is regarded as one of the most important factors contributing to the global burden of disease. Despite obvious differences, BPD and schizophrenia (SCZ) share a high number of characteristics, and several research approaches from the SCZ field has recently successfull y been transformed to BPD research. We here suggest that the early phase of the disorder is as important in BPD as in SCZ. So far there is little knowledge of the early phases of BPD.
We will include early BPD patients; i.e. patients with first episode mania, from all University Hospitals in Oslo. These hospitals are already cooperating trough the TOP study, and have an infrastructure for first-episode research through the TOP-Early Psychotic Disorders group already running several projects on first e pisode SCZ. The study will be the basis for two separate PhD projects; one focusing on the development of BPD-I, different onset subtypes and neurocognitive characteristics, and the second on the symptomatology of first-episode mania and early biologica l markers including early cardiovascular risk factors, HPA-axis dyrsregulation and functional and structural brain imaging characteristics. We plan to include 75 patients. The project will be integrated within the TOP study group framework; all data will be collected to the TOP study database and DNA to the TOP study biobank - both with the permission to store information until 2050.