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ID 1055

Bipolar Disorder - Endangered?

Description:
Kay Jamison discusses the eugenic quandry we face when a prenatal test for manic depression (bipolar disorder) becomes available.
Transcript:
My concern would be that at some point manic depressives would become an endangered species and that they would not have their representation as an intellectual force in their own right and energy force in their own right, a way of acting in their own right. And again, it's not to romanticize a bad disease, because I'm not doing that, but I think that it's complicated and I think you want to respect how complicated it is, that it's not just a severe mental illness. The severe mental illness is attached to temperament, and it's attached to cognitive style and it's attached to many wonderful attributes in terms of exuberance and high energy levels and high voltage people. And so you don't want to risk trimming those folks too much. All the while, the great advantage of genetics that you would be able to diagnose it more accurately and earlier and get much more specific and meaningful treatments. And those are the wonderful aspects of it. The possible downside would be that you would be giving mankind the power to eliminate something that might be potentially very useful as long as it's treatable.
Keywords:
bipolar disorder, manic depression, kay jamison, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, ethics,
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Creative Commons License This work by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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