July 22, 2016

The Prechter Fund at the NAMI National Convention – a recap

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) National Convention took place in Denver, CO, from July 6-9, 2016. The Prechter Bipolar Research Fund participation in this year's convention was two-fold: we were chosen to give the research update on bipolar disorder and we had a booth in the exhibit hall.

The research update drew a large crowd – about 400 attendees came to hear Gloria Harrington, L.M.S.W., C.C.R.P., our Research Manager, and Simon J. Evans, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor, speak about "Bipolar Longitudinal Studies: Impact and Future State." The audience learned that bipolar disorder affects individuals across their lifespan and therefore must be studied longitudinally. Researchers at the University of Michigan Prechter Bipolar Research Fund are working to develop personalized treatments for bipolar disorder. The presentation also highlighted the relationship between the microbiome and bipolar disorder, the application of smartphone technology to predict the onset of mood changes in advance of a pending clinical episode, and the use of induced pluripotent stem cells to predict personalized response to treatment strategies. 

"It was an honor to be selected to provide the Bipolar Research Update at this year's NAMI Convention. I feel privileged to be involved in this research that provides so much hope to so many people."

- Gloria Harrington, L.M.S.W., C.C.R.P.

The entire presentation can be viewed and downloaded on the convention website.

Our booth in the exhibit hall was equally as successful: there was a constant stream of attendees stopping by to chat with us about our research program. Many pointed out how glad they were to see "research" represented in the exhibit hall. We were able to give people living with bipolar disorder and their family members and friends hope that research is being done to shed light onto this illness and, ultimately, to personalize treatment of bipolar disorder and prevent recurrences to enable people to lead healthy and productive lives.