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Beating Bipolar

27 March 2009

Dr Alice Roberts (second from right) with the Cardiff teamDr Alice Roberts (second from right) with the Cardiff team

The world’s first internet-based education treatment for patients with bipolar depression is to be trialled by University researchers working with well-known television presenter Dr Alice Roberts.

The Beating Bipolar programme aims to teach patients and their relatives about the diagnosis, causes and treatments of bipolar depression. A large part focuses on helping patients develop self-management skills and ways to cope with early signs of relapse.

The programme is made up of eight 20 minute interactive modules, made available on the website over a four month period. The content of the programme was developed with input from members of the Manic Depression Fellowship in Wales (MDF-Cymru). Each module is presented by Cardiff graduate and Bristol University lecturer Dr Alice Roberts, well-known to television audiences for the BBC’s Coast, and her Don’t Die Young series on health. Her co-presenter is Dr Danny Smith of the School of Medicine, the trial’s principal investigator. Patients will be able to discuss the programme and share experiences and knowledge with each other at an on-line forum.

Dr Roberts said: "Beating Bipolar aims to put patients and relatives in touch with the latest ideas about bipolar depression - and with each other. It explains symptoms and treatment options in an accessible way, and we hope that patients will find the online forum to be a really valuable extra source of support. It's about empowering people with knowledge, and providing a space where experiences can be shared and discussed. "

The clinical trial will begin in June 2009, involving around 100 patients with bipolar disorder in South Wales. It has been developed with funding from the National Institute of Health Research and in collaboration with the Healthcare Learning Company.

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