Date of Submission

Spring 2013

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

Frank Scalzo

Abstract/Artist's Statement


Traditionally bipolar disorder is considered an adult affliction. Since the 1980’s, there has been an ever increasing prevalence of child bipolar disorder. The 1980’s were also when Ritalin, a psychostimulant medication for ADHD, was created and popularized. I hypothesize that methylphenidate, the main active chemical in Ritalin, potentially exacerbates symptoms and induces an earlier onset of bipolar disorder in an at risk child population. Correlational studies have been inconclusive and it is ethically impossible to create a controlled study with human subjects. Thus, I propose an experiment in which zebrafish will be treated with pentylenetetrazole, a convulsive, which at low doses mimics some behavioural symptoms of bipolar disorder, and then with methylphenidate to see whether the symptoms are further exacerbated.

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