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Adults over 60 Needed for Bipolar Disorder Study


Adults over the age of 60 who experience symptoms such as mood swings, elevated or “high” mood, irritability or agitation, decreased sleep, racing thoughts, poor concentration, fast speech, risky behavior, restlessness, increased energy or activity or increased sexual interest are needed to participate in a research study of bipolar disorder at the University of Pittsburgh. This study will compare the effectiveness of study medications lithium and divalproex in the treatment of bipolar disorder in older adults.

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, affects 5.7 million adults in the U.S. and often runs in the family. The disorder commonly emerges during late adolescence or early adulthood, but it also can start in childhood or late in life. People with bipolar disorder have highs (mania) and lows (depression) in their moods that can disrupt their lives, decreasing their ability to work or to maintain relationships. Sometimes bipolar disorder is not diagnosed or treated until many years after symptoms begin because people do not recognize their behavior changes, or they think their problems come from life circumstances rather than a treatable illness. Typically, loved ones need to encourage people with the disorder to get treatment. If they are not treated, their mood episodes may become more frequent and more serious with age. However, with treatment, they can improve their lives.

Participation involves an evaluation of medical and psychiatric history, including assessment of current symptoms. A physical examination and blood tests will be necessary to make sure the study medications are safe for each participant. During the study, mood and overall health will be closely monitored 12 times during a nine-week period. Each visit will last approximately one hour. Three 30-minute phone interviews will take place during the following year.

Individuals will be compensated $20 for long visits and $10-$15 for short visits, as well as transportation costs. For more information, please call 412-246-6008, or e-mail


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