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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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Although it is a long ways off I have read that maybe in ten

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Although it is a long ways off I have read that maybe in ten years or so they might be able to cure bipolar disease using a form of genetic therapy. The article I read said that it would not be easy but they are working on it. Do you think this is at all possible and if so would this be available to people who already have the disease or more for prevention. I think this study was done at Stanford University.
I am sure you are expecting me to be very skeptical and to tell you not to get your hopes up.

But I am also very hopeful about gene therapies. In general, they have not advanced within the timetable originally hoped for. If you recall, a decade ago they started working on charting the entire human genome. And the predictions were that when that task would be done, then the medications would be the next step.

Unfortunately, that is not how it turned out. The human genome was mapped. And when that was done, it was found that behind the human genes were a myriad of proteins and other substances within each gene sequence that are unique and must be understood in order to accurately track gene functions and to correct malfunctions.

This statement that I just made is the current hope, the current thinking. There have been a few successes in this area, but not nearly to the extent that had been predicted. So the complexity of the human body and especially the brain has won out again.

However, I am so impressed with how much more precisely we are able to track genetic mutations and deal with them than before. HIV is a great example, even though it is a virus that attacks the autoimmune system and not a specific brain function.

So, brain function will be a very complex thing for genetic medicine to try to treat. But things are moving so fast, that I am indeed hopeful. I don't know if 10 years is a realistic time frame. But cell phones started weight 15 pounds and within such a short time look at them now!

If and when genetic medicine is able to begin treating BD, I do not see the dividing line being how long the patient has had the disorder. I see the dividing line being the areas of the brain affected. We do not yet know how to even identify the disorder that way, yet, but hopefully we will. So keeping abreast of this news is an important way to be hopeful and to stay encouraged.

Okay, I wish you the very best!

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