The Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Program is based at the University of Michigan Depression Center in Ann Arbor and is charged with discovering the causes of bipolar disorder and treat and prevent the illness. One of the research program’s major initiatives is the Longitudinal Study of Bipolar Research. With more than 1,200 participants, it is the largest long-term study for bipolar disorder in the nation. The longitudinal study seeks to better understand bipolar disorder by studying the tiny differences in DNA and behavior that occur over time in individuals with the illness and how it may play a key role in how the disorder develops. The data generated from this study can provide strategies to identify the disorder at earlier stages of development and create more effective treatments. The Prechter program relies on the financial support of its donors to continue research. Bipolar disorder affects an estimated 200 million people worldwide. About 30 percent of individuals with bipolar disorder attempt suicide, and 20 percent die by suicide.
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