Early-onset bipolar disorder: how about visual-spatial skills and executive functions?
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- Lera-Miguel, S., Andrés-Perpiñá, S., Calvo, R. et al. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci (2011) 261: 195. doi:10.1007/s00406-010-0169-z
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Early-onset bipolar disorder is an impairing condition that is strongly associated with genetic inheritance. Neurocognitive deficits are core traits of this disorder which seem to be present in both young and adult forms. Deficits in verbal memory and attention are persistent within euthymic phases in bipolar adults, adolescents, and children. In younger samples, including type I or II and not otherwise specified patients, executive functions are not widely impaired and the existence of visual-spatial deficits remains unclear. The main aim of this study was to compare the neurocognitive performance in young stabilized type I or II bipolar patients and healthy controls. Fifteen medicated adolescents with bipolar disorder and 15 healthy adolescents, matched in age and gender, were compared on visual-spatial skills (reasoning, memory, visual–motor accuracy) and executive functioning (attention and working memory, set-shifting, inhibition) using t-tests and MANCOVA. Correcting for verbal competence, MANCOVA showed that patients performed significantly worse than controls in letters and numbers sequencing (P = 0.003), copy (P < 0.001) and immediate recall (P = 0.007) of the Rey Complex Figure Test, interference of the Stroop Color-Word Test (P = 0.007) and non-perseverative errors on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (P = 0.038). Impaired cognitive performance was found in young bipolar patients in working memory, visual-motor skills, and inhibitory control.