Sunday, May 19, 2013

Bipolar Disorder, Possible Flu Link, & Garey's Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See

(Previous bipolar disorder posts: Bipolar Disorder & Eugenides’ The Marriage Plot, New Bipolar Disorder Treatment & Quick's The Silver Linings Playbook.)

Here's last week's New York Times article "Flu in Pregnancy Is Linked to Bipolar Disorder:"
Flu infection during pregnancy may increase the risk for bipolar disorder in the child, according to a new report...
From 1959 through 1966, researchers recruited more than 19,000 pregnant women enrolled in a large health insurance program in California, collecting data on influenza infection from just before conception until delivery.
Using various techniques, they tracked down cases of bipolar disorder among the offspring from 1981 to 2010 and found 92 cases of documented illness and 722 matched controls, a sample size the authors acknowledge is not large.
After controlling for maternal age, race, educational level, gestational age at birth and maternal psychiatric disorders, they found that people whose mothers had the flu during pregnancy had quadruple the risk for bipolar disorder as adults.
For a novel about bipolar disorder, try Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See by Juliann Garey:
Debut novelist Juliann Garey channels movie studio exec Greyson Todd’s spiral into madness with the intimacy of memoir. Punctuated by electroshock treatments that dampen Greyson's extremes at the expense of his sense of self, Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See maps his memories before and since his mother’s death threw his mind for a perpetual loop.
Greyson's roaring mania has an upside: It spawns a lust for risks that reward him richly in Hollywood. But as the highs give way to immobilizing lows that become impossible to hide, he leaves his wife and daughter and disappears into the Israeli outback, then Nairobi, Bangkok, and eventually New York, where everyone is “impatient and irritable and agitated,” so he fits right in.
Deep cash reserves allow Greyson to indulge the urges brought on by full-blown bipolar disorder for a good decade before he lands in a psych ward, and his exploits take on spectacularly lavish, absurd proportions, but you’ll laugh through gritted teeth. And though you may not ever like him, you’ll know his pain well enough to be grateful for every grain of sanity he regains.

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