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Roger S. McIntyre

A Fascination for a Complex Syndrome

Posted on November 12, 2007

Curiosity led Roger S. McIntyre (bio) to a specialty in bipolar disorders.


My career path is one that has been largely fostered by clinical interest as a medical student, being exposed to patients with mood disorders I found particularly fascinating. And I was particularly intrigued by the complexity, the colorful presentation of the bipolar individual.

I think for me that was the major driver, just a curiosity, a fascination for the complexity of the illness and through my undergraduate years in medical school and residency, taking upon myself to read more about that particular condition, mood disorders and more specifically in bipolar disorder, only emboldened my interest in the fascinating history of the syndrome, the fascinating science behind the syndrome.

And for me bipolar disorder represented everything of psychiatry. Biological aspects, psychological aspects, social aspects. It all confluenced together and I found it so wonderfully exciting. And I think that for myself, my research interests were really a byproduct of my enthusiasm clinically. I started off as seeing myself as largely someone who is a clinician, and then just seeing patients I had questions that would arise around phenomenology. Questions would surface around some of the treatment aspects.

And my primary area of interest has been in metabolism. Where that came from was that I would just see patients day in and day out who had terrible problems with being overweight, having heart disease, diabetes. And I heard it so frequently from patients that I thought, I’d like to find out how common this is.

And I would begin to look at how common comorbidity was in our clinic and I started looking at epidemiological samples. And there’s a certain momentum that takes hold if you will, and as my career kept going forward, I became very intrigued with the link between medical co-morbidity and cognitive function.

And so it’s almost as though one garden began to pollinate the next garden. And they were juxtaposed, they were close together. And for me what it meant was that I would be a person who went from being a clinician to a person who now would identify with being a clinician researcher.

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Excerpted from interview with researcher at the 2007 International Conference on Bipolar Disorder in Pittsburgh, PA.


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