While the precise causes of such, often debilitating, psychiatric conditions remain unknown, scientists do know that both genes and the environment play a role.
New research that now appears in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology highlights the fact that environmental factors such as viruses may be the driving force behind these disorders.
An international team of scientists led by Bhupesh Prusty — from the Department of Microbiology at the University of Würzburg in Germany — discovered that in the brains of people who lived with bipolar and major depression, a class of neurons called Purkinje cells was infected with the herpesvirus HHV-6A.
Purkinje neurons are inhibitory brain cells located in the human cerebellum, which is the brain area responsible for controlling movement, muscles, balance, and posture.
However, some research has also tied this brain region to language, cognition, and mood.
Source: Medical News Today