First Research Grant: Dr Vicky Wing

Victoria Wing photo

To celebrate World Mental health Day, it is with great pleasure that the Out of the Blues Trustees would like to announce the award of first research grant from the fund to Dr Vicky Wing. The research project, “Evaluating Lithium’s Anti-Inflammatory Effects in Bipolar Affective Disorder”, will help further our understanding of how lithium may work in treating bipolar disorder. A summary of the proposed study is included below. Dr Wing has a background of mental health related research prior to training in Medicine. She has recently commenced as an Academic Clinical Fellow (ACF) in psychiatry. The Out of the Blues grant will provide vital funding to allow her to conduct independent research during her ACF and provide pilot data for larger national Fellowship applications to support the next stage in her training. The Trustees wish Dr Wing every success in both the study and her future career.

Lay summary: Bipolar affective disorder (BPAD) is a lifelong condition affecting up to 4 in 100 people. It causes very high and low mood which can affect people’s ability to function and reduce life-expectancy. Lithium is one of the best treatments for BPAD but it works better for some people than others. If we could find why this is, patients could be more quickly treated with the best medicine for them. New research has found the immune system is overactive in BPAD causing inflammation in the blood and brain. In animal experiments lithium reduces inflammation and stops brain cells dying. In this study patients with BPAD already taking or starting lithium will have a blood test to see if lithium lowers blood inflammatory markers. This information will help plan future studies using special scans to measure inflammation in the brain and determine if lithium’s anti-inflammatory effects predict who will get better.