by Tara Deliberto
Here are some quick late night thoughts on psychosis and mania:
There's some fantastic brand new research showing that beta amyloid, a toxic substance, gets cleared from the brain while its sleeping (article). Just fyi, beta amyloid is the stuff that is thought to cause dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
So, when people who are manic don't sleep for days, perhaps some of the psychotic symptoms are triggered from amyloid and other toxins building up in the brain. In other words, perhaps the bipolar swings result from one mechanism, while the psychosis secondarily results from a lack of brain cleaning. Further, maybe those who are more susceptible to these psychotic symptoms have a less efficient cleaning mechanisms more generally.
Of course, this isn't my main area of research. I just felt compelled to encode my responses to this exciting new work on the internet before my beta amyloid levels become too high.