The course of illness in bipolar disorder is often characterised by progressive shortening of inter-episode intervals with each recurrence and with increasing cognitive disabilities during the course of illness. Although the risk of relapse of depression and mania is high it is for most patients impossible to predict and consequently prevent upcoming episodes in an individual tailored way. The identification of objective biomarkers can both inform bipolar disorder diagnosis and provide biological targets for the development of new and personalized treatments. Accurate diagnosis of bipolar disorder in its early stages could help to prevent the long-term detrimental effects of the illness.
We aim within the next years to identify 1) a composite blood-based biomarker, 2) a composite electronic Smartphone-based biomarker and 3) a neurocognitive signature for bipolar disorder.
We expect to achieve this ambitious goal by establishing the largest ever long-term bipolar cohort study in the world including 400 patients with newly diagnosed/first episode bipolar disorder, 200 healthy siblings or child family members and 200 healthy individuals without a family history of affective disorder. All individuals will be investigated with repeated blood tests, Smartphone recordings, neuropsychological tests and brain imaging during the five to ten year study period.