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Study finds difference in way bipolar disorder affects brains of children versus adults
Date:6/18/2014

owed significantly greater levels of brain activation in bipolar children, this time in the inferior frontal gyrus and precuneus areas of the brain. In contrast, analyses of fMRI studies using non-emotional cognitive tasks showed a significant lack of brain activation in the anterior cingulate cortex of bipolar children.

"Our meta-analysis has located different regions of the brain that are either hyper active or under active in children with bipolar disorder," said Wegbreit. "These point us to the targeted areas of the brain that relate to emotional dysfunction and cognitive deficits for children with bipolar disorder."

"Despite our best current treatments, bipolar disorder exacts a considerable toll on youths, including problems with friends, parents and at school, and high rates of psychiatric hospitalization and suicide attempts," said Dickstein. "More research into targeted treatments is needed now that we know children's brains are impacted in specific, identifiable ways by bipolar disorder."

Dickstein added that Bradley Hospital's PediMIND Program is currently conducting several research projects on pediatric bipolar disorder, including potential brain-based treatment. "Understanding more about the brains of children and adults with mental illness is very important because, ultimately, all mental illnesses are reflected in changes in brain activity," said Dickstein. "Locating the underlying brain change in bipolar youths could lead us to new, brain-based ways to improve how we diagnose and treat this disorder."

Ongoing studies by the PediMIND Program and other research groups are working to determine if computer-based "brain games" or group or individual therapy might improve these brain changes in a more targeted way, and improve the lives of children and adults with bipolar disorder.


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Contact: Jill Reuter
jreuter@lifespan.org
401-444-6863
Lifespan
Source:Eurekalert

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