A new UC Irvine study finds that lithium chloride, a drug used to treat bipolar disorder, can slow the development of inclusion body myositis, a skeletal muscle disease that affects the elderly. In the study by scientists Frank LaFerla (pictured) and Masashi Kitazawa, mice genetically engineered to have IBM demonstrated markedly better motor function six months after receiving daily doses of lithium chloride, compared with non-treated mice. The muscles in treated mice also had lower levels of a protein that the study linked to muscle inflammation associated with IBM. These data are the first to show that lithium chloride is a potential IBM therapy. Results of the study appear online this month in the journal Annals of Neurology.