The discovery was made by the London Psychiatry Centre in partnership with Newcastle Premier Health.
Precision medicine is the use of a persons genome to more accurately diagnose disease and predict the best possible alternative for treatment. Doctors employed the self-tailored medical strategy on 20 patients suffering from type 2 and subthreshold bipolar disorder – those who experience four or more mood changes in one year.
In this particular case doctors looked for genetic indicators of thyroid activating enzhymes so as to measure out the appropriate amount of exogenous thyroid hormones for re-injection. Dysfunctions of our thyroid gland are thought to be implicated in many physical and mental health conditions, but they are particularly prominent in people with Bipolar Disorder. In fact more than 90% of the experimental subjects had a deficiency of one, two or both enzymes needed to activate thyroid hormones. Over time genetic predisposition for thyroid dysfunction can be worsened by environmental events that lead to the development of bipolar disorder as a wider pathology of the brain.
The philosophy behind this specific approach to precision medicine is simultaneously utilizing transcranial magnetic stimulation as a tool for re-stabilizing the brain, alongside targeted doses of thyroid hormone so as to eliminate both the biochemical and neurological cause of bipolar disorder at the same time. rTMS or Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation works by stimulating certain parts of the brain with help from applied electromagnetic fields. The same treatment has been proven to assist with depression, trauma, pain and other pathologies. Since bipolar disorder is marked by certain exaggerated cycles of emotion you can help to offset a particular mood by stimulating parts of the brain that deal with the opposite set of emotions. Combine this with targeted chemical treatment of the underlying hormonal triggers and you have more likelihood of succeeding.
Mark Philpott, managing director at Newcastle Premier Health, said: “This could be revolutionary in how people are treated, and that’s not just limited to the North East and the UK.
“There’s every possibility this can have a global impact.”
Furthermore the study found that patients could be treated with little to no side-effects and most of them were able to reduce the amount of required psychotropic drugs from 3 or 4 to 1 which of course would help to mitigate that as well. Eventually the control group treated with the precision medicine approach recovered fully after years of unsuccessful medication.
Dr Andy Zamar, consultant psychiatrist, said: “We believe we have cracked it!
“This game-changing discovery is the result of more than a decade of work involving the treatment of nearly 400 people with genetic tests carried out in over 100 of these patients.
“We hope our findings result in a global transformation of how millions of people are treated for this debilitating illness and signals a reduction in their required medication and side effects.”