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Aging Too Soon? Premature Brain and Biological Aging in Bipolar Disorder

Wednesday, July 5, 2017 - 09:00 to 10:00

People with bipolar disorder suffer from more age-related physical illnesses and live shorter lives than those without the disorder, leading to the idea that bipolar disorder is a condition that affects the whole body and involves an acceleration of the normal aging process.  Immune and inflammatory pathways may be involved in the altered course of aging in bipolar disorder. In this talk, Dr. Eyler will review evidence for altered brain aging in BD and for changes in aging-related inflammatory pathways. She will present data from her own magnetic resonance imaging study of brain aging which used multiple measures of brain structural and functional integrity to create a “brain age” prediction for each participant. She will also present initial results from her ongoing longitudinal study of inflammation, mood, and cognition in BD. The implication of these findings for treatment and prognosis will be discussed.

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Dr. Eyler received her undergraduate degree from Duke University and her PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. She completed a clinical psychology internship and a post-doctoral fellowship at UC San Diego and the San Diego VA. Since 1999, she has been on the faculty of the Desert-Pacific Mental Illness Research Education and ClinicalCenter (MIRECC) and, since 2004, on the faculty of the UCSD Department of Psychiatry.  She is currently co-director of the Neuroimaging Unit of the MIRECC and Professor of Psychiatry at UCSD. She is also a steering committee member of the UCSD Center for Healthy Aging, chair of the Psychiatry Department Chair’s Advisory Committee on Diversity Issues and chair of the UCSD School of Medicine’s Standing and Promotions Committee. Internationally, she is an active member of the Older Adult Bipolar Disorder Task Force of the International Society for Bipolar Disorders and an investigator in the ENIGMA Bipolar collaboration to share global neuroimaging data. Dr. Eyler’s research program is currently supported by several NIH grants on which she is an investigator.  She has led two NIMH-funded projects as Principal Investigator: one recently completed entitled "Structural and Functional Brain Aging in Bipolar Disorder" and one ongoing entitled "Dynamic Inflammatory and Mood Predictors of Cognitive Aging in Bipolar Disorder."