February 16, 2001
Volume XXXIV, No. 7

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UTHSC part of $22 million bipolar disorder study

The National Institute of Mental Health earlier this month announced a nationwide study geared toward improving the treatment of bipolar disorder, a mood disorder that affects more than 2 million people in the United States. The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is a site for the study.

The principal investigator is Dr. Charles L. Bowden, who occupies the Nancy Ullman Karren Chair in Psychiatry at the Health Science Center. The 18 sites nationwide will enroll 5,000 patients; the San Antonio center seeks to enroll 200.

Dr. Bowden says psychiatrists are able to offer patients with bipolar disorder a much-improved quality of life and, in some cases, even an increased life span by preventing suicides. "Using new medications that are becoming available, we are able to improve functioning in more than 50 percent of the cases," he said. Bipolar disorder also is called manic depression.

Dr. Bowden has been on the psychiatry faculty since 1970. A native Texan from Brownwood, he attended The University of Texas at Austin and earned his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He completed his residency in psychiatry at Columbia University.