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April 30, 2010

Save-the-Date: Benefit luncheon with Margaret Trudeau - Former first lady of Canada and mental health advocate

The Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Fund at the University of Michigan Depression Center is pleased to announce a luncheon featuring keynote speaker Margaret Trudeau, former first lady of Canada and international mental health advocate. The luncheon, taking place on October 14, 2010 at The Henry hotel (formerly the Ritz-Carlton) in Dearborn, Michigan, serves as a fundraising event for the Prechter research fund.

As a longtime mental health advocate, Margaret Trudeau will offer inspirational words about her own battle with bipolar disorder and her message of hope in finding a balance of mind, body and spirit. The widow of former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Margaret Trudeau was one of the world's most fascinating and scrutinized women in the 1970's. Diagnosed just a few years ago, she has suffered from bipolar illness all of her adult life.

“Bipolar disorder is a medical condition caused by chemical imbalances in the brain and marked by significant changes in mood, thought, energy and behavior,” said Melvin McInnis, M.D., Thomas B. and Nancy Upjohn Woodworth Professor of Bipolar Disorder and Depression at the University of Michigan Depression Center. “These changes in mood or "mood swings" can last for hours, days, weeks, or months and can result in significant problems in areas such as relationships, work, and finances.  Although the direct cause of the illness is unclear, it has long been believed that genetic, biochemical and environmental factors play a role.”

An estimated 5.7 million Americans suffer from bipolar disorder. Because of the condition’s genetic links, patients’ loved ones, especially their children, are at risk of developing the disease themselves. Although no single gene “causes” bipolar disorder, the disease has its roots in complex genetic vulnerabilities that run in some families.

“The Prechter Bipolar Research Fund is helping to lay the new foundation of medical research, attempting to predict outcomes and preventing the disease,” said Wally Prechter, founder of the Fund.  “Researchers who study bipolar disorder have discovered an important connection between genes, stresses and environmental experiences. Understanding this connection is believed to be the key to conquering this illness.” 

All proceeds raised by the luncheon with Margaret Trudeau will benefit the Fund’s gene repository, the only independently funded repository in the nation. The repository collects DNA samples from individuals with and without bipolar disorder. The DNA is evaluated to find clues to early diagnosis and a roadmap to understanding causes and identify treatments.

For media inquiries, please call Kat Bergman at (734) 998-7751.

To purchase tickets to the luncheon, VIP reception with Ms. Trudeau, donor dinner, or to become a sponsor of this event, please call Leslye Martin at (734) 675-2200.