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Biomedical Engineering

Personal Lithium Blood Level Analyser for patients with Bipolar Mood Disorder

Project Details

Principal Investigator:  Prof P A Kyriacou

Co-Investigators:  Dr I Triantis, Dr M Hickey (City University London); Dr E Palazidou (Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, QMUL)

Researchers:  Dr M Qassem, Dr L Constantinou

Funding:  National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

Project Description

Bipolar disorder is a serious life-long condition, characterised by recurrent episodes of depressed and manic mood states which cause major impairment in the lives of those affected. About one to two per cent of the general population in the UK is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, often developing between the ages of 18 and 24 years. Lithium is the most widely used medication for treating bipolar disorder. It is highly effective at controlling mood swings, preventing further episodes and reducing suicidal risk. Lithium concentrations require regular monitoring as it is only effective within a narrow therapeutic range and at higher levels it has serious toxic effects which are potentially dangerous for patients. The development of a low cost, personal, healthcare technology to monitor blood lithium levels at home is proposed. This device would improve the patients' sense of involvement in the management of their illness, improve adherence with effective monitoring and facilitate early detection of shifting of lithium concentrations outside the therapeutic range. The monitor will employ smart medical optical and electrical sensors that will monitor changes in blood lithium levels.