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A systematic review on neuropsychological function in bipolar disorders type I and II and subthreshold bipolar disorders—something to think about

  • Sinead King (a1), James M Stone (a1) (a2) (a3), Anthony Cleare (a1) (a3) and Allan H Young (a1) (a3)

Abstract

Neuropsychological dysfunction is a well-established finding in individuals with bipolar disorder type I (BP-I), even during euthymic periods; however, it is less clear whether this also pertains to bipolar disorder type II (BP-II) or those with subthreshold states (SBP; subthreshold bipolar disorder), such as bipolar not otherwise specified (BP-NOS). Herein, we compare the literature regarding neuropsychological performance in BP-II vs BP-I to determine the extent of relative impairment, and we present and review all related studies on cognition in SBP. After systematically searching PubMed, Medline, PsycINFO, and The Cochrane Library, we found 17 papers that comprise all the published studies relevant for this review. The areas that are consistently found to be impaired in BP are executive function, verbal memory, visual spatial working memory, and attention. More studies than not show no significant difference between BP-I and BP-II, particularly in euthymic samples. Preliminary evidence suggests that patients experiencing major depressive episodes who also meet criteria for SBP show similar profiles to BP-II; however, these results pertain only to a depressed sample. SBP were found to perform significantly better than both MDD and healthy controls in a euthymic sample. A consensus on mood state, patient selection, and neuropsychological testing needs to be agreed on for future research. Furthermore, no studies have used the most recent DSM-5 criteria for SBP; future studies should address this. Finally, the underlying bases of cognitive dysfunction in these diagnostic groups need to be further investigated. We suggest recommendations on all of the above current research challenges.

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Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: Sinead King, King’s College London, Centre for Affective Disorders, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, Department of Psychological Medicine, 103 Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AZ, UK. (Email: sinead.king@kcl.ac.uk)

References

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A systematic review on neuropsychological function in bipolar disorders type I and II and subthreshold bipolar disorders—something to think about

  • Sinead King (a1), James M Stone (a1) (a2) (a3), Anthony Cleare (a1) (a3) and Allan H Young (a1) (a3)

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