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This new study using Canadian and Swiss data showed that the risk calculator used to predict the likelihood of developing a major mood disorder was correct approximately 70% of the time. The study results suggest this may be a useful clinical tool in routine practice for improved individualised risk estimation of bipolar spectrum disorders among the adolescent offspring of a parent with a bipolar disorder.

Family history is a significant risk factor for bipolar disorders, but the magnitude of risk varies considerably between individuals within and across families.

The study summarises the development and independent replication of a digitalised personal risk calculator to tailor the individual risk of developing a mood disorder in 5 to 10 years for a young person with a confirmed first degree relative (i.e. parent) with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.  Data is based on two independent high-risk offspring of bipolar parent studies over two decades in Canada and Switzerland.

Visiting Professor Anne Duffy, co-author, Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, said:

 

'The risk calculator that we have developed is a tool meant to assist clinicians with identifying those young people who might benefit from closer monitoring and to motivate healthy lifestyle choices, and the reduction of modifiable risk factors, such as sleep regulation, substance use and exercise.'

To read the full study, published in The Lancet - EClinicalMedicince, Development and validation of a risk calculator for major mood disorders among the offspring of bipolar parents using information collected in routine clinical practice.

The study is funded by a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

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