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The very very very very very end of the phd


Student’s assay now working (thank god!) – check. Downton Seasons 1, 2 and Xmas special watched – check. Hunger Games enjoyed and discussed to within-inch-of-life – check. Gorgeous slate grey paint for the trim on the doll’s house (this doll’s house is going to need a name, I can tell!) scavenged at FBS – check. Decision on whether to try to get Soss in the 3-year-olds swim class for next term made – check (No. She can stay where she is for another 3 months). Discussion with Spouse on just how damn difficult things are right now undertaken – check.

I have 150 words to write until I have officially finished my PhD. These 150 words are a lay blurb for the graduation booklet and they are annoyingly hard to write. I let (well okay, begged) the Spouse, who while being ‘lay’ has read the damn thesis as many times as I have, to write it for me. She has done editing on what I already had, so I am going to get that done NOW!

As I thought – 150 words is simply not enough. Ah well, it’s probably not going to be understood anyway!

Gene expression and genetic association in bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder is a serious psychiatric condition affecting 2-3% of the New Zealand population.  The causes of the disorder are not fully understood, but previous research has shown that there is a large genetic component, which may be related to changes in how certain genes are expressed in bipolar individuals.  Twenty genes were assessed for expression changes in neural cells after treatment with the mood-stabilising drugs carbamazepine and valproate.  Four genes were found to have consistent expression changes after treatment, however replication of the experiment in a second model was unable to confirm these changes.

Single base changes in the code of three of the genes were assessed for association with bipolar disorder in a NZ bipolar cohort.  Six of the gene changes in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) were found to be associated with bipolar disorder. This suggests that BDNF may play a role in the development of bipolar disorder.

There. Done.

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