Last year Catherine Zeta-Jones went public about her bipolar disorder – and said just recently she hopes she can help remove the stigma from the mental condition.
But during an interview on ABC’s Good Morning America today, Catherine Zeta-Jones insisted she is tired of talking about the illness.
Catherine Zeta-Jones was treated in a psychiatric hospital last April for manic depression over the stress of her husband Michael Douglas’s battle against cancer.
At the time her publicist confirmed she was receiving help for the mood-altering illness.
Despite being very open about her condition since, during her interview today Catherine Zeta-Jones insisted she “never wanted to become the poster child” – and does not want to be seen as a victim.
She said: “You know what? I’m sick of talking about it because I never wanted to be the poster child for this.”
“I never wanted this to come out publicly. It came out,” she added emphatically.
Talking about how she copes with the illness she went on: “I dealt with it in the best way I could and that was just saying: <<Hey, I’m bipolar>>. Everyone has things going on and we deal with them as best we can.”
Very matter of factly, Catherine Zeta-Jones continued: “We can’t go jump from the rooftops shouting about I have this, look at me, victim.
“No, we all have issues in our life and I’m really lucky that I have great friends, great support and that’s all I can do.”
Catherine Zeta-Jones went public about her bipolar disorder last year
Catherine Zeta-Jones suffers from bipolar II, which unlike bipolar I, means the “up” moods do not reach full-on levels of mania.
Rather than descending into deep depressions, patients can be very outgoing, functional and often more productive than normal, one reason why it often goes undiagnosed.
Despite suggesting her reluctance to talk about her illness, Catherine Zeta-Jones spoke in detail to InStyle magazine this month about her diagnosis last year.
“It’s been an intense time, in good ways and bad,” Catherine Zeta-Jones said.
“You find out who you really are and who you are married to. You find things inside yourself you never imagined were there.”
“I’ve gained an appreciation for little things, like tea outside on a terrace and a beautiful afternoon like this.”
Catherine Zeta-Jones has been married to Michael Douglas for 12 years and the couple have two children together, son Dylan and daughter Carys.
It was reported last year that Catherine Zeta-Jones spent five days in a mental health clinic recovering, which lead to the diagnosis of bipolar disorder.
She also told the magazine that she hopes she can help other suffering with the condition.
“I’m not the kind of person who likes to shout out my personal issues from the rooftops but with my bipolar becoming public, I hope fellow sufferers will know it is completely controllable.
“I hope I can help remove any stigma attached to it, and that those who don’t have it under control will seek help with all that is available to treat it.”
[googlead tip=”vertical_mediu” aliniat=”stanga”] The University of Michigan Health System researchers said stem cell could offer new hope for unlocking the secrets of bipolar disorder.
A new project begins at the University of Michigan as the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Fund marks ten years in the search for a cure of bipolar disorder.
According to a University of Michigan Health System statement posted on its website on August 22, the new stem cell lines developed from the skin of adults living with bipolar disorder are providing researchers at the University of Michigan Health System an unprecedented opportunity to delve into the genetic and biological underpinnings of the devastating mood disorder.
Scientists will be able to link new findings – such as how gene expression is affected by different medications – to extensive clinical and demographic data from the cell donors, who are also participants in an ongoing long-term study of hundreds of individuals with bipolar disorder.
The induced pluripotent stem cells could offer new hope for unlocking the secrets of bipolar disorder.
The new research comes as the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Fund, based at the University of Michigan Depression Center, prepares to mark the 10th anniversary of its establishment by Waltraud “Wally” Prechter following the July 2001 death of her husband, Heinz. Before he took his life, few people knew that the well-known automotive entrepreneur wrestled with bipolar disorder.
“Currently the best treatments for bipolar disorder are only effective for 30 percent to 50 percent of patients,” said Melvin McInnis, M.D., the Thomas B and Nancy Upjohn Woodworth Professor of Bipolar Disorder and Depression at the University of Michigan Medical School and associate director at the University of Michigan Depression Center.
“New discoveries have been limited, in part due to the lack of access to tissue and cells from individuals with bipolar disorder. But that is now changing because of the Prechter research program and advances in stem cell research.”
The new stem cell lines – among the first to be created by the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute Consortium for Stem Cell Therapies – were made from fibroblasts from skin samples donated by adult research volunteers both with and without bipolar disorder.[googlead tip=”patrat_mic” aliniat=”dreapta”]
In the lab, scientists can coax these skin cells into behaving like embryonic stem cells. Known as induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPSC, these, in turn, can be manipulated to develop into different types of body cells, including brain cells.
“We will be able to see if there are differences in how the neurons of a person with bipolar disorder make connections, determine how they respond to different medications and explore potential deficiencies in signaling pathways,” explained Sue O’Shea, Ph.D., a professor of cell and developmental biology at the Medical School who leads the stem cell lab with Gary Smith, Ph.D, professor of obstetrics and gynecology.
“So far, five lines have been created. The goal, is to develop 30 cell lines – 20 from people with bipolar disorder and 10 control subjects. Creating each line is a painstaking and expensive process.”
“We often think of stems cells being used in therapies to treat disease, but this is a great example of stem cells’ usefulness for studying the mechanisms of disease.”
“The iPS cells renew themselves, so they’re an unlimited source of material and offer hope to individuals with bipolar disorder.”
Still, the researchers caution, new treatments spurred by this work could be a decade or more away.
Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression, affects 5.7 million adults in the United States. It is caused by chemical imbalances in the brain and marked by significant changes in mood, thoughts, energy and behavior.
Heinz Prechter, the well known automotive entrepreneur wrestled with bipolar disorder.
[googlead tip=”lista_medie” aliniat=”dreapta”]Because bipolar disorder runs in families, research at University of Michigan (U-M) has focused on studying disease genes. There is no single gene that “causes” someone to become bipolar, but the disease has its roots in genetic vulnerabilities.
The Prechter Bipolar Genetic Repository already houses more than 1,500 genetic samples from people with bipolar disorder and healthy controls from studies at U-M along with collaborating sites: Johns Hopkins, Stanford, Cornell and Penn State. It is the first independently funded bipolar genetics repository in the nation. In addition to sharing the knowledge between the different universities, confidential, coded DNA repository samples and clinical information will be made available to scientists worldwide to accelerate and share clinical breakthroughs in evaluating and treating bipolar disorder.
The Prechter longitudinal study has already collected more than 5 years’ worth of data.
“I’m really proud that over the last 10 years my husband’s legacy has grown to include the strides we’re making to understand bipolar disorder and find new treatments,” Wally Prechter says.
“Bipolar is like any other illness – cancer, diabetes, heart disease – and deserves the same urgency.”
“That lack of effective treatment is a big reason for the high risk of suicide or suicide attempts among people with bipolar disorder. Anywhere from 5% to 15% of bipolar patients will attempt or commit suicide sometime in their lives,” said McInnis.
“Depression caused by Heinz Prechter’s bipolar disorder affected his whole being,” said Wally Prechter.
“He was extremely exuberant and happy, and very, very optimistic, to the point that I thought, ‘Wow, I’ve never met anyone like that.’ But when he was depressed it was to the point that he would stay home and just sit in a chair and look out at the river,” she said.
The memory of how her brilliant husband was reduced to such a low, unable to tell anyone what he was going through, is part of what continues to drive her today.
U-M Health System CEO and Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, M.D., points to the research as a great example of the strides that can be made when public institutions and private donors collaborate on research that benefits the public.
“The Prechter research shows how we continue to fuel innovation through exciting collaborations that highlight our commitment to bench-to-bedside medical advances,” Pescovitz said.
“We are very fortunate to have Wally and her family as part of our Michigan family.”