August 17, 2005

Cerebellar Abnormalities in BP Disorder

A recent MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) analysis has found that those with multiple-episode bipolar disorder are at higher risk for "abnormalities in the posterior-inferior cerebellar". This area of one's brain has recently been found to have an effect on mood regulation. These neurons extend to several areas of the brain that in turn modulate one's mood.

Researchers therefore decided to examine patients with bipolar disorder using an MRI to look at the cerebellar vermal's part in this illness. There were 18 participants with a first-episode of bipolar disorder and 21 had multiple episoder bipolar disorder. There were 32 mentally healthy controls to compare the results with. "The results, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, showed that vermal subregion V2 volume was significantly smaller in patients with multiple-episode bipolar disorder than in first-episode patients and mentally healthy individuals, at an average of 1048 cm³ versus 1241 cm³ and 1203 cm³, respectively.

The multiple-episode bipolar patients also showed abnormalities in vermal subregion V3, showing significantly smaller volumes than the mentally healthy individuals, at an average of 1407 cm³ versus 1505 cm³; however, there was a nonsignificant overall difference among the groups" (PsychiatrySource.com, 2005).

The number of episodes of mania and depression did not seem to have an effect on V3 volume. Antidepressant usage did have an effect on V3 volume though. The potential effect on mood that the vermal region has should be examined further so that it is fully understood.

Original Source: Cerebellar vermal abnormalities linked to bipolar disorder. PsychiatrySource.com. August 16, 2005.

This study was published in: Am J Psychiatry 2005; 162: 1530–1533

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