I am Emmy and I have bipolar disorder.
Approximately 60 million people worldwide live with this terrible condition, and one in seven will die by suicide.
Whilst everyone has mood swings, in bipolar disorder these are extreme.
Sufferers can shift from normal moods to dramatic highs with little regard for painful consequences. Profound lows can result in being bed ridden with crippling depression.
The cycles are unpredictable and can make life very difficult for sufferers; sometimes resulting in an inability to maintain jobs and relationships, stress placed on family and friends, health instability and erratic behaviours.
Despite all we know about bipolar disorder, the cause remains unknown and the treatments can be gruelling.
Through my research as a PhD candidate at the University of Tasmania, I have found that bipolar disorder shares some features with a common form of epilepsy called ‘temporal lobe epilepsy’.
Due to their chronic and often unpredictable courses, bipolar disorder and epilepsy place a significant burden on the patient and the health care sector.
My research aims to assess similarities between bipolar disorder and temporal lobe epilepsy.
So far, I have identified six key areas of interest that I plan to test:
- Early warning signs
- Trigger factors for mania and seizures
- Self-induction of episodes
- Neuropsychology (decision making, verbal and non-verbal memory)
- Sense of smell
- Recognizing of emotional facial expressions
This experiment will allow me to work out which brain mechanisms are shared by sufferers of bipolar disorder and epilepsy.
Importantly, this could lead to new methods of prevention and treatment to improve the quality of life of sufferers.
It might even contribute a piece of the puzzle that leads to a cure.
A world-renowned research team.
I will conduct my research under the expert guidance of three research scholars from the University of Tasmania.
- Dr Michael Garry, Senior Lecturer and Researcher in Psychology (School of Medicine)
- Professor Bruce Taylor, Researcher in Neurology (Menzies Research Institute)
- Professor Ken Kirkby, Researcher in Psychiatry (School of Medicine)
This study has been approved by the Tasmanian Health and Medical Human Research Ethics Committee. If you have concerns or complaints about the conduct of this study please contact the Executive Officer of the HREC (Tasmania) Network on (03) 6226 6254 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Executive Officer is the person nominated to receive complaints from research participants. You will need to quote H0015820.
How The Funds Will Be Used
Your donation will be used to fund an important series of experiments that are central to my research.
- $13,705 to employ a Research Assistant with specialised skills in neuropsychological testing
- $3,735 to purchase 85 x University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Tests
- $200 for phone credit
- $1,815 in travel costs
- $1,788 to cover Pozible's service fees
Funding rates for medical research are at an all-time low.
In 2015, only 13.73 per cent of grant applications to the Federal Government's National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) were funded .
And funding for mental health research is significantly lower than other National Health Priority Areas.
Mental disorders affect 1 in 5 people in any year.
And the cost is enormous, not only to sufferers, but to their carers, their family and friends, and society at large.
In 2013-14, over $8 billion was spent on mental health services in Australia. This is equivalent to $344 per person across the population (AIHW, 2016).
We are excited to be at the forefront of research that brings together neuroscience and psychology.
Unravelling the mystery of mental illness is a great challenge, but finally the science is starting to provide insights into the processes involved.
This is opening the door to new methods of prevention, better treatment options, and ultimately, improvements in quality of life.
Your contribution will assist us to tackle the issue head on.
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