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jrlewis's picture

brain chemistry

After all our talk about sodium and potassium ions, I was thinking about brain chemistry this week.  One chemically similar ion we didn’t discuss is lithium, which is used in the treatment of bipolar disorder.  From a quick internet search, it appears that there are several competing theories about the psychopharmacology of lithium.  The most widely accepted mechanism of action is regulation of neurotransmitter glutamate.  Too much glutamate causes mania and too little depression.  Other researchers think that lithium might inhibit an enzyme, inositol monophosphate or alter gene expression.  A group at Penn has found evidence that lithium is important for circadian clock regulation. 

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