Current Psychiatry Reports

, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 499-504

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Neurocognitive and Neuroimaging Predictors of Clinical Outcome in Bipolar Disorder

  • Carrie E. BeardenAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLADepartment of Psychology, UCLA
  • , Michelle WoogenAffiliated withOlin Neuropsychiatric Research Center, Institute of Living
  • , David C. GlahnAffiliated withOlin Neuropsychiatric Research Center, Institute of LivingDepartment of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine Email author 


Historically, bipolar disorder has been conceptualized as a disease involving episodic rather than chronic dysfunction. However, increasing evidence indicates that bipolar disorder is associated with substantial inter-episode psychosocial and vocational impairment. Here we review the contributions of neurocognitive deficits and structural and functional neuroanatomic alterations to the observed functional impairments. In particular, compelling evidence now suggests that neurocognitive impairments, particularly in the areas of attention, processing speed, and memory, are associated with functional outcome. Although investigation of the neural correlates of functional disability in bipolar disorder is only in its nascent stages, preliminary evidence suggests that white matter abnormalities may be predictive of poor outcome. A better understanding of the relationship between neurocognitive and neuroimaging assays and functional outcome has the potential to improve current treatment options and provide targets for new treatment strategies in bipolar disorder.


Bipolar disorder Neuropsychology Neuroanatomy Functional neuroimaging Outcome Disability