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Media opportunity: Dalhousie University researcher wins top prize for paper on her innovative research showing that reversing insulin resistance improves psychiatric outcomes in treatment‑resistant bipolar disorder

Posted by Communications and Marketing on May 31, 2023 in News

Dalhousie University physician Dr. Cindy Calkin is being honoured with a top psychiatry award for research that discovered a new way to address treatment-resistant bipolar disorder – by reversing insulin resistance. It is a novel approach that involves treating an underlying metabolic disorder to improve a psychiatric one, a concept that led to a paradigm shift in the field of psychiatry.

Dr. Calkin, a clinical researcher and associate professor of Psychiatry and Medical Neuroscience, will receive the 2023 Paul Wender Best Paper in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry Award for her paper, Treating Insulin Resistance with Metformin as a Strategy to Improve Outcome in Treatment-Resistant Bipolar Disorder - the TRIO-BD study. It was selected by the American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology Awards Committee.

The study showed that reversing insulin resistance improved treatment-resistant bipolar depression in patients who had been chronically ill for more than 25 years and failed eight to nine psychiatric medication trials over their lifetime. Their improvement was significant within six weeks of starting the drug Metformin, with patients remaining well throughout the 26-week trial.

Dr. Calkin and her team were the first to find high rates of insulin resistance in patients with bipolar disorder and that insulin resistance was independently linked to negative bipolar outcomes. As a result, the Canadian Diabetes Association updated its guidelines to include bipolar disorder as an independent risk factor for Type 2 diabetes. Dr. Calkin and her team have also published guidelines recommending that all patients with bipolar disorder be tested for insulin resistance.

Dr. Calkin is available to discuss her research, the award being presented today and how this work has given hope to even the sickest of those affected.


Media contact:

Alison Auld
Senior Research Reporter
Communications, Marketing and Creative Services
Dalhousie University
Cell: 1-902-220-0491



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