Thursday, January 24, 2008

BiPolar study volunteers needed

An emailed I received a day or 2 ago:

My name is Amir Faghfoory. I am a fourth year medical student at George Washington University, and I am writing to you to tell you about a bipolar research project I am involved in that might be interesting to your readers. The project is being directed by Daniel Z. Lieberman, M.D., who is an associate professor in the department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the director of the Clinical Psychiatric Research Center.

Dr. Lieberman, working with Fredrick Goodwin, M.D., has developed an automated, online version of the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) Life Chart, sometimes referred to as a mood chart. The NIMH Prospective Life Chart has been a valuable source of data for patients, doctors and researchers. As you know, bipolar disorder is a complicated illness. Mood is affected by medication, life events, personal habits, relationships, and one’s internal biology. In the United States, people with bipolar disorder take an average of between four and five medications at a time.

In order to get the most out of treatment, it’s necessary to understand how these many factors are interacting. The life chart is the most effective way to do this because it creates a visual picture that captures a great deal of data, and can reveal hidden relationships within the data.

One of the hardest parts of using a life chart is keeping up with daily mood ratings. The online chart reaches out to users by sending a daily rating email to them. All the user has to do is make a single click on one of the links in the email, and his or her mood is automatically recorded for the day. Other data, such as sleep, anxiety, important events, etc. can also be entered.

This is a non-commercial, open source software project, and there is no cost for its use or for access to the underlying source code for those who are interested in modifying it or building on it. If you’d like to learn more, you can see a quick demo at You can also try it for yourself at If you are just testing it, when it asks you for a Study ID on the sign up page, please enter “test.”


  1. it isn't an illness. the propaganda made it into an illness.

    don't participate.

    or do.

    see if i and your bipolar gives a flying tofu.

  2. Weird. For the first time in months I opened up my mood chart on the desktop and filled it in thinking "yup, I'll get back into this again". And at most, five minutes later, I read this. Many thanks! Study or not, it's a helpful tool for me.

  3. BPG, are you going to do it? The paranoia in me thinks it's all an online plot to find out personal things about me. Sheess, I get embarrassed reading what I just wrote, but what can I say? That's how my brain works.

  4. you're not that important, simone_t, use the chart like freya if you find the past usefool for predicting the future.

    ad nauseaum: with one foot in the past and one in the future, about the only thing you can do is pee on the present!

  5. Of course I'm that important! I'm a highly trained government agent. I'm undercover as a suburban mother, sent by the government on a mission to infiltrate the suburbs and keep the powers that be informed on all the deviant minions that threaten to undermine peace and stability. Hey, just the other day I noticed a garbage man that I've never seen before. I'm keeping my eye on him. LOL! NOTTTT!!!

    My point here is that that some of the "side-effects" of this can keep you from getting better, and you don't even know it. Which brings me to my next point/question: How do you know the difference between reality and what's a figment of your imagination? Personally, that's the hardest part of coming to terms with my "illness", for want of a better word. I find myself sifting through my past and wondering when I was acting on reality and when was it just "in my head"? How many times on the way here, did I embarrass myself in front of other people, when I was acting on something that wasn't real? Doesn't that bug the crap out of you? Am I the only person battling with this question????? I don't want to live 100% until I have a guarantee that I will know when it's real and when it's not. Until then, I will hide out in my house, staking out the garbage men.


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