State- and trait-related deficits in sustained attention in bipolar disorder
- Cite this article as:
- Clark, L. & Goodwin, G.M. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences (2004) 254: 61. doi:10.1007/s00406-004-0460-y
Investigation of neuropsychological functioning in bipolar disorder provides a potential link from the prominent cognitive symptoms of the disorder to the underlying neural mechanisms. Continuous performance measures of sustained attention have yielded consistent findings in bipolar disorder patients. There are impairments that appear to be both state- and trait-related. Impaired target detection may represent one of the most sensitive markers of illness course in bipolardisorder. It is unrelated to residual mood symptomatology and medication status, and is present in patients with good functional recovery. The impairment in target detection is exacerbated in the manic state, and is accompanied by an increased rate of false responding. Sustained attention deficit is present early in the course of the disorder, but becomes more pronounced with repeated episodes. This cognitive profile, of an early-onset, state-modulated, trait marker, is distinct from the profile of attentional disruption seen in schizophrenia or unipolar depression. The state- and trait-related impairments may be differentially associated with the ascending dopamine and noradrenaline projections.