A new study has found people with bipolar disorder have an increased risk of developing Parkinson's disease.
"Previous studies have shown a relationship between depression and Parkinson's disease, but few studies have looked at whether there is a relationship between bipolar disorder and Parkinson's," said study author Mu-Hong Chen, MD, PhD, of Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan, told a news portal
To investigate the link, researchers studied data from a national Taiwanese health database of 56,340people who were diagnosed with the mental health condition but had no history ofParkinson's between 2001 and 2009. The team also examined data of a control group that included 225,360 people who had no history of bipolar disorder or Parkinson's disease. Researchers monitored both groups till 2011.
Researchers discovered close to 372 people with bipolar disorder developed Parkinson's disease. Meanwhile, 222 people in the control group developed the health condition. The results of the study showed people with bipolar disorder were seven times more likely to develop Parkinson's disease compared to the control group. The same was true even after the team took into account factors like age, sex, medical concerns and antipsychotic medications.
The team also discovered that bipolar patients developed Parkinson's disease at a younger age than those in the control group.
Data from the study also revealed the following:
- People who were hospitalised for bipolar disorder frequently were likely to develop Parkinson's disease.
- 3 per cent of people with bipolar disorder were hospitalised once or twice a year.
-The risk of Parkinson's is much higher for patients of the mental health issue who were hospitalized more than a few times.
"Further studies are needed to investigate whether these diseases share underlying processes or changes in the brain," Chen told a news portal. Adding, "These could include genetic alterations, inflammatory processes or problems with the transmission of messages between brain cells. If we could identify the underlying cause of this relationship, that could potentially help us develop treatments that could benefit both conditions."
The study was originally published in Neurology, which is a medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
Previous research has found weight and diet can affect bipolar patients' response to treatment. Researchers believe a less inflammatory diet could help patients respond better to treatment. Lead study author Melanie Ashton told a news portal: "If we can confirm these results, then it's good news for people with Bipolar Disorder, as there is a great need for better treatments for the depressive phase of Bipolar Disorder."
Bipolar disorder refers to people who experience episodes of extreme mood swings that range from feeling very depressed to exhibiting manic highs.