AACAP 2006 Research Forum--Advancing research in early-onset bipolar disorder: barriers and suggestions. Academic Article uri icon


  • The 2006 Research Forum addressed the goal of formulating a research agenda for early-onset bipolar disorder (EOBP) and improving outcome by understanding the risk and protective factors that contribute to its severity and chronicity.Five work groups outlined barriers and research gaps in EOBP genetics, neuroimaging, prodromes, psychosocial factors, and pharmacotherapy.There was agreement that the lack of consensus on the definition and diagnosis of EOBP is the primary barrier to advancing research in BP in children and adolescents. Related issues included: the difficulties in managing co-morbidity both statistically and clinically; acquiring adequate sample sizes to study the genetics, biology, and treatment; understanding the EOBP's developmental aspects; and identifying environmental mediators and moderators of risk and protection. Similarly, both psychosocial and medication treatment strategies for children with BP are hamstrung by diagnostic issues. To advance the research in EOBP, both training and funding mechanisms need to be developed with these issues in mind.EOBP constitutes a significant public health concern. Barriers are significant but identifiable and thus are not insurmountable. To advance the understanding of EOBP, the field must be committed to resolving diagnostic and assessment issues. Once achieved, with adequate personnel and funding resources, research into the field of EOBP will doubtless be advanced at a rapid pace.

publication date

  • February 2009