AN OXFORD RESEARCH team led by Dr Grant Churchill has discovered a possible alternative to lithium to treat bipolar disorder.
The researchers have discovered that an existing chemical compound called ebselen may work just as effectively as lithium, but without the harmful side effects.
For the last 60 years, lithium has been used to treat the condition, but has harmful side effects including weight gain, difficulty producing urine, and possible mutations during pregnancy. It is also toxic in overdose.
So far, ebselen has been tested on mice, although a study on human volunteers is planned to see whether ebselen will be just as an effective treatment as lithium.