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GEN’s editorial staff interviews life science academic and biotech industry leaders on important research, technology, and trends. These podcasts will keep you informed with all the important details you need.

People with manic depression have a distinct chemical signature in their brains, according to scientists at Imperial College London, the University of Cambridge, and the National Institutes of Mental Health in the U.S. The researchers, who published their study in the February 5th issue of the journal Molecular Psychiatry, hope their work will enable a better understanding of the condition and of how it can be treated.

During this week's podcast, Dr Tsz Tsang, from Imperial College London and one of the authors of the study, describes this chemical signature and explains how it differs in people who have not been diagnosed with manic depression. He provides specific details regarding the research project itself and discusses how mood stabilzers used to treat manic depression might counteract the changes in the brain that the disorder appears to cause.

Dr. Tsang also talks about how this research might lead to new methods to diagnose and treat manic depression.

Dr Tsz Tsang is a research associate at Imperial College London and one of the authors of the study regarding the discovery of a chemical signiture in the brain for manic depression. Dr Tsang gained a BSc in Biomedical Sciences from the University of the West of England, Bristol in 1997. This included a year work placement at the pathogen diagnostics company, Oxoid Ltd., developing systems to isolate and identify micro-organisms in the clinic. A taught Masters degree in Neuroscience was undertaken at the in 1998 that included a research project in the Movement Disorders Laboratory investigating the basal ganglia circuitry in Parkinsons Disease and levodopa-induced dyskinesias (Noradrenergic drugs in movement disorders: the roles of 2-adrenoreceptors in the basal ganglia). Dr Tsang joined the Biological Chemistry department to take up an EPSRC and GlaxoSmithKline CASE Award PhD studentship in 1999. The project investigated the potential of magic-angle spinning (MAS) NMR and conventional NMR spectroscopic techniques, coupled with computer pattern recognition methods, to biochemically characterise neural dysfunction. More specifically, research focused on the biochemical perturbations associated with neural dysfunction in HD and the subsequent metabolic changes in biofluids. Research interests also include the metabonomic profiling of neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, Parkinson's disease, gut microbe / mammalian CNS interactions and toxin-induced neuropathies.

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