Communications & Media

New research into bipolar disorder and epilepsy seeks community help

A University of Tasmania researcher is seeking community help to undertake new research into the similarities between bipolar disorder and temporal lobe epilepsy.

In a bid to better understand and manage the conditions, University of Tasmania Faculty of Health PhD student Emmanuelle (Emmy) Bostock is hoping to raise $21,243 through crowd-funding platform Pozible to undertake her research project.

Emmy’s drive to find solutions comes from personal experience, having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder 10 years ago.

“Like me, about 60 million people alive today will suffer from this terrible disorder,” she said.

March 30 is World Bipolar Day, held to raise awareness of bipolar disorders by educating and removing social stigmas surrounding the illness.

“Sufferers can shift from normal moods to dramatic highs with little regard for painful consequences. The cycles are unpredictable and make life very difficult for those suffering and their loved ones,” Emmy said.

“The treatment can be gruelling and the cause of bipolar disorder is unknown.

“Through my research at the University of Tasmania I’ve found that the disorder shares some features with a common form of epilepsy called temporal lobe epilepsy, which presents as non-convulsive seizures lasting one to two minutes.”

Emmy said the similarities between the two brain disorders prompted her to pursue her studies further to help inform better management and diagnosis of the illnesses.

In her proposed research project Emmy is wanting to compare six key areas including early warning signs; trigger factors; self-induction of episodes; sense of smell; tests of mental ability and recognising emotions.

In order to undertake the study, funds are needed to go towards the hiring of a research assistant with specialised skills in neuropsychological testing and test materials.

“I am working on this as I truly believe that we can learn a lot by comparing bipolar disorder and temporal lobe epilepsy,” Emmy said.

“The findings of this study will be unique and will help to unravel the underlying causes of bipolar disorder and our ability to do more to help those affected.”

To find out more and donate to the project visit

Published on: 30 Mar 2017 11:37am