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Individuals with bipolar disorders (BD) are at risk of premature death, mainly due to medical comorbidities. Childhood maltreatment might contribute to this medical morbidity, which remains underexplored in the literature.
We assessed 2891 outpatients with BD (according to DSM-IV criteria). Childhood maltreatment was assessed using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. Lifetime diagnoses for medical disorders were retrospectively assessed using a systematic interview and checked against medical notes. Medical morbidity was defined by the sum of medical disorders. We investigated associations between childhood maltreatment (neglect and abuse) and medical morbidity while adjusting for potential confounders.
One quarter of individuals had no medical comorbidities, while almost half of them had at least two. Multivariable regression showed that childhood maltreatment (mainly abuse, but also sexual abuse) was associated with a higher medical morbidity. Medical morbidity was also associated with sex, age, body mass index, sleep disturbances, lifetime anxiety disorders and lifetime density of mood episodes. Childhood maltreatment was associated with an increased prevalence of four (i.e. migraine/headache, drug eruption, duodenal ulcer, and thyroid diseases) of the fifteen most frequent medical disorders, however with no difference in terms of age at onset.
This large cross-sectional study confirmed a high medical morbidity in BD and its association with childhood maltreatment. The assessment of childhood maltreatment in individuals with BD should be systematically included in routine care and the potential impact on physical health of psycho-social interventions targeting childhood maltreatment and its consequences should be evaluated.
Converging evidence suggests that a subgroup of bipolar disorder (BD) with an early age at onset (AAO) may develop from aberrant neurodevelopment. However, the definition of early AAO remains unprecise. We thus tested which age cut-off for early AAO best corresponds to distinguishable neurodevelopmental pathways.
We analyzed data from the FondaMental Advanced Center of Expertise-Bipolar Disorder cohort, a naturalistic sample of 4421 patients. First, a supervised learning framework was applied in binary classification experiments using neurodevelopmental history to predict early AAO, defined either with Gaussian mixture models (GMM) clustering or with each of the different cut-offs in the range 14 to 25 years. Second, an unsupervised learning approach was used to find clusters based on neurodevelopmental factors and to examine the overlap between such data-driven groups and definitions of early AAO used for supervised learning.
A young cut-off, i.e. 14 up to 16 years, induced higher separability [mean nested cross-validation test AUROC = 0.7327 (± 0.0169) for ⩽16 years]. Predictive performance deteriorated increasing the cut-off or setting early AAO with GMM. Similarly, defining early AAO below 17 years was associated with a higher degree of overlap with data-driven clusters (Normalized Mutual Information = 0.41 for ⩽17 years) relatively to other definitions.
Early AAO best captures distinctive neurodevelopmental patterns when defined as ⩽17 years. GMM-based definition of early AAO falls short of mapping to highly distinguishable neurodevelopmental pathways. These results should be used to improve patients' stratification in future studies of BD pathophysiology and biomarkers.
Response to lithium in patients with bipolar disorder is associated with clinical and transdiagnostic genetic factors. The predictive combination of these variables might help clinicians better predict which patients will respond to lithium treatment.
To use a combination of transdiagnostic genetic and clinical factors to predict lithium response in patients with bipolar disorder.
This study utilised genetic and clinical data (n = 1034) collected as part of the International Consortium on Lithium Genetics (ConLi+Gen) project. Polygenic risk scores (PRS) were computed for schizophrenia and major depressive disorder, and then combined with clinical variables using a cross-validated machine-learning regression approach. Unimodal, multimodal and genetically stratified models were trained and validated using ridge, elastic net and random forest regression on 692 patients with bipolar disorder from ten study sites using leave-site-out cross-validation. All models were then tested on an independent test set of 342 patients. The best performing models were then tested in a classification framework.
The best performing linear model explained 5.1% (P = 0.0001) of variance in lithium response and was composed of clinical variables, PRS variables and interaction terms between them. The best performing non-linear model used only clinical variables and explained 8.1% (P = 0.0001) of variance in lithium response. A priori genomic stratification improved non-linear model performance to 13.7% (P = 0.0001) and improved the binary classification of lithium response. This model stratified patients based on their meta-polygenic loadings for major depressive disorder and schizophrenia and was then trained using clinical data.
Using PRS to first stratify patients genetically and then train machine-learning models with clinical predictors led to large improvements in lithium response prediction. When used with other PRS and biological markers in the future this approach may help inform which patients are most likely to respond to lithium treatment.
Studying phenotypic and genetic characteristics of age at onset (AAO) and polarity at onset (PAO) in bipolar disorder can provide new insights into disease pathology and facilitate the development of screening tools.
To examine the genetic architecture of AAO and PAO and their association with bipolar disorder disease characteristics.
Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) and polygenic score (PGS) analyses of AAO (n = 12 977) and PAO (n = 6773) were conducted in patients with bipolar disorder from 34 cohorts and a replication sample (n = 2237). The association of onset with disease characteristics was investigated in two of these cohorts.
Earlier AAO was associated with a higher probability of psychotic symptoms, suicidality, lower educational attainment, not living together and fewer episodes. Depressive onset correlated with suicidality and manic onset correlated with delusions and manic episodes. Systematic differences in AAO between cohorts and continents of origin were observed. This was also reflected in single-nucleotide variant-based heritability estimates, with higher heritabilities for stricter onset definitions. Increased PGS for autism spectrum disorder (β = −0.34 years, s.e. = 0.08), major depression (β = −0.34 years, s.e. = 0.08), schizophrenia (β = −0.39 years, s.e. = 0.08), and educational attainment (β = −0.31 years, s.e. = 0.08) were associated with an earlier AAO. The AAO GWAS identified one significant locus, but this finding did not replicate. Neither GWAS nor PGS analyses yielded significant associations with PAO.
AAO and PAO are associated with indicators of bipolar disorder severity. Individuals with an earlier onset show an increased polygenic liability for a broad spectrum of psychiatric traits. Systematic differences in AAO across cohorts, continents and phenotype definitions introduce significant heterogeneity, affecting analyses.
Despite its pivotal role in prophylaxis for bipolar-I-disorders (BD-I), variability in lithium (Li) response is poorly understood and only a third of patients show a good outcome. Converging research strands indicate that rest–activity rhythms can help characterize BD-I and might differentiate good responders (GR) and non-responders (NR).
Seventy outpatients with BD-I receiving Li prophylaxis were categorized as GR or NR according to the ratings on the retrospective assessment of response to lithium scale (Alda scale). Participants undertook 21 consecutive days of actigraphy monitoring of sleep quantity (SQ), sleep variability (SV) and circadian rhythmicity (CR).
Twenty-five individuals were categorized as GR (36%). After correcting statistical analysis to minimize false discoveries, four variables (intra-daily variability; median activity level; amplitude; and relative amplitude of activity) significantly differentiated GR from NR. The odds of being classified as a GR case were greatest for individuals showing more regular/stable CR (1.41; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.08, 2.05; p < 0.04). Also, there was a trend for lower SV to be associated with GR (odds ratio: 0.56; 95% CI 0.31, 1.01; p < 0.06).
To our knowledge, this is the largest actigraphy study of rest–activity rhythms and Li response. Circadian markers associated with fragmentation, variability, amount and/or amplitude of day and night-time activity best-identified GR. However, associations were modest and future research must determine whether these objectively measured parameters, singly or together, represent robust treatment response biomarkers. Actigraphy may offer an adjunct to multi-platform approaches aimed at developing personalized treatments or stratification of individuals with BD-I into treatment-relevant subgroups.
Schizoaffective disorder could be considered as a form of schizophrenia, a form of bipolar disorder, an independent disorder or a disorder intermediate between bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, within a psychotic continuum. The study of cognitive deficits in subjects with those diagnoses could help differentiate between these possibilities.
We compared cognitive performances of schizoaffective (SZAff) subjects with those of subjects with schizophrenia (SZ), bipolar disorder with psychotic symptoms (life-time) (BDP), bipolar disorder without life-time occurrence of psychotic symptoms (BD) and normal controls (NC). We used two tests of executive functions – the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) and the Trail-making Test (TMT) – that are known to be impaired in those disorders.
The number of perseverative errors on WCST was highest in SZ subjects and gradually decreased in SZAff, BDP and, finally in BD subjects. By contrast, SZ and SZAff subjects obtained similar scores in the TMT, as did BD and BDP patients.
These results suggest that, for some deficits, there may be a continuum between SZ, SZAff and affective disorders, whereas SZAff patients most closely resemble SZ patients for other deficits. This implies that different conceptual views about schizoaffective disorder should be seen as complementary, rather than mutually exclusive.
The aim of this study was to assess dimensions of temperament as defined by Cloninger’s neurobiological model using the tridimensional personality questionnaire (TPQ) in a sample of consecutively recruited schizophrenic patients.
Subjects and methods
We used the French version of the TPQ to compare 45 stable, euthymic schizophrenic patients with 126 controls with no personal or familial history of psychiatric disorder. After comparison of TPQ scores between groups, we also performed a multivariate analysis to avoid the confounding effects of age, gender, and alcohol and substance use disorder comorbidity.
Harm avoidance (HA) was higher in schizophrenic patients than in controls.
Discussion and conclusion
This replicates and extends the results of previous studies suggesting that schizophrenic patients have high HA and that HA might be a marker for underlying genetic vulnerability to schizophrenia.
Lithium (Li) is the gold standard treatment for bipolar disorder (BD). However, its mechanisms of action remain unknown but include neurotrophic effects. We here investigated the influence of Li on cortical and local grey matter (GM) volumes in a large international sample of patients with BD and healthy controls (HC).
We analyzed high-resolution T1-weighted structural magnetic resonance imaging scans of 271 patients with BD type I (120 undergoing Li) and 316 HC. Cortical and local GM volumes were compared using voxel-wise approaches with voxel-based morphometry and SIENAX using FSL. We used multiple linear regression models to test the influence of Li on cortical and local GM volumes, taking into account potential confounding factors such as a history of alcohol misuse.
Patients taking Li had greater cortical GM volume than patients without. Patients undergoing Li had greater regional GM volumes in the right middle frontal gyrus, the right anterior cingulate gyrus, and the left fusiform gyrus in comparison with patients not taking Li.
Our results in a large multicentric sample support the hypothesis that Li could exert neurotrophic and neuroprotective effects limiting pathological GM atrophy in key brain regions associated with BD.
Longitudinal studies of the relationship between cognition and functioning in bipolar disorder are scarce, although cognition is thought to be a key determinant of functioning. The causal structure between cognition and psychosocial functioning in bipolar disorder is unknown.
We sought to examine the direction of causality between cognitive performance and functional outcome over 2 years in a large cohort of euthymic patients with bipolar disorder.
The sample consisted of 272 adults diagnosed with bipolar disorder who were euthymic at baseline, 12 and 24 months. All participants were recruited via the FondaMental Advanced Centers of Expertise in Bipolar Disorders. We used a battery of tests, assessing six domains of cognition at baseline and 24 months. Residual depressive symptoms and psychosocial functioning were measured at baseline and 12 and 24 months. The possible causal structure between cognition and psychosocial functioning was investigated with cross-lagged panel models with residual depressive symptoms as a covariate.
The analyses support a causal model in which cognition moderately predicts and is causally primary to functional outcome 1 year later, whereas psychosocial functioning does not predict later cognitive performance. Subthreshold depressive symptoms concurrently affected functioning at each time of measure.
Our results are compatible with an upward causal effect of cognition on functional outcome in euthymic patients with bipolar disorder. Neuropsychological assessment may help specify individual prognoses. Further studies are warranted to confirm this causal link and evaluate cognitive remediation, before or simultaneously with functional remediation, as an intervention to improve functional outcome.
Cognitive deficits are a well-established feature of bipolar disorders (BD), even during periods of euthymia, but risk factors associated with cognitive deficits in euthymic BD are still poorly understood. We aimed to validate classification criteria for the identification of clinically significant cognitive impairment, based on psychometric properties, to estimate the prevalence of neuropsychological deficits in euthymic BD, and identify risk factors for cognitive deficits using a multivariate approach.
We investigated neuropsychological performance in 476 euthymic patients with BD recruited via the French network of BD expert centres. We used a battery of tests, assessing five domains of cognition. Five criteria for the identification of neuropsychological impairment were tested based on their convergent and concurrent validity. Uni- and multivariate logistic regressions between cognitive impairment and several clinical and demographic variables were performed to identify risk factors for neuropsychological impairment in BD.
One cut-off had satisfactory psychometric properties and yielded a prevalence of 12.4% for cognitive deficits in euthymic BD. Antipsychotics use were associated with the presence of a cognitive deficit.
This is the first study to validate a criterion for clinically significant cognitive impairment in BD. We report a lower prevalence of cognitive impairment than previous studies, which may have overestimated its prevalence. Patients with euthymic BD and cognitive impairment may benefit from cognitive remediation.
The relationship between residual depressive symptoms, cognition and functioning in patients with euthymic bipolar disorder is a subject of debate.
To assess whether cognition mediates the association between residual depressive symptoms and functioning in patients with bipolar disorder who were euthymic.
We included 241 adults with euthymic bipolar disorder in a multicentre cross-sectional study. We used a battery of tests to assess six cognition domains. A path analysis was then used to perform a mediation analysis of the relationship between residual depressive symptoms, cognitive components and functioning.
Only verbal and working memory were significantly associated with better functioning. Residual depressive symptoms were associated with poorer functioning. No significant relationship was found between residual depressive symptoms and any cognitive component.
Cognition and residual depressive symptoms appear to be two independent sources of variation in the functioning of people with euthymic bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder is a highly heritable polygenic disorder. Recent
enrichment analyses suggest that there may be true risk variants for
bipolar disorder in the expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) in the
We sought to assess the impact of eQTL variants on bipolar disorder risk
by combining data from both bipolar disorder genome-wide association
studies (GWAS) and brain eQTL.
To detect single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that influence
expression levels of genes associated with bipolar disorder, we jointly
analysed data from a bipolar disorder GWAS (7481 cases and 9250 controls)
and a genome-wide brain (cortical) eQTL (193 healthy controls) using a
Bayesian statistical method, with independent follow-up replications. The
identified risk SNP was then further tested for association with
hippocampal volume (n = 5775) and cognitive performance
(n = 342) among healthy individuals.
Integrative analysis revealed a significant association between a brain
eQTL rs6088662 on chromosome 20q11.22 and bipolar disorder (log Bayes
factor = 5.48; bipolar disorder P =
5.85×10–5). Follow-up studies across multiple independent
samples confirmed the association of the risk SNP (rs6088662) with gene
expression and bipolar disorder susceptibility (P =
3.54×10–8). Further exploratory analysis revealed that
rs6088662 is also associated with hippocampal volume and cognitive
performance in healthy individuals.
Our findings suggest that 20q11.22 is likely a risk region for bipolar
disorder; they also highlight the informative value of integrating
functional annotation of genetic variants for gene expression in
advancing our understanding of the biological basis underlying complex
disorders, such as bipolar disorder.
Background. Abnormal serotonergic neurotransmission has long been demonstrated in suicidal behavior. The dorsal and median raphe nuclei housing the main serotonergic cell bodies and the prefrontal cortex (PFC), particularly the ventral part innervated by the serotonergic system, have therefore been studied extensively in suicidal behavior research. However, only a few studies have described neuropsychological function impairment in suicidal patients. We investigated PFC-related neuropsychological function in patients with suicidal behavior, separating dorsolateral PFC (DLPFC)- and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC)-related functions.
Method. We compared 30 euthymic patients with suicidal behavior aged 18–65 years with 39 control subjects, for the following neuropsychological domains: global intellectual functioning, reward sensitivity, initiation, inhibition, and working memory. Patients and controls were compared by means of univariate and multivariate analyses, adjusting for age at interview, level of education and mood state at the time of evaluation. Trait impulsivity, measured with the Barratt Impulsivity Scale version 10 (BIS-10), was also included as a covariate in a subset of analyses.
Results. Multivariate comparisons demonstrated significant executive function deficits in patients with suicidal behavior. In particular, we observed impairment in visuospatial conceptualization (p<0·0001), spatial working memory (p=0·001), inhibition (Hayling B–A, p=0·04; go anticipations, p=0·01) and visual attention (or reading fluency) (p=0·002). Similar results were obtained following adjustment for motor impulsivity as a covariate, except for spatial working memory.
Conclusions. These deficits are consistent with prefrontal dysfunction in patients with suicidal behavior. Differentiation between DLPFC- and OFC-related neuropsychological functions showed no specific dysfunction of the orbitofrontal region in patients with suicidal behavior in our sample.
El propósito de este estudio era evaluar las dimensiones del temperamento definidas por el modelo neurobiológico de Cloninger utilizando el Cuestionario Tridimensional de la Personalidad (TPQ) en una muestra de pacientes esquizofrénicos seleccionados consecutivamente.
Sujetos y métodos:
Utilizamos la versión francesa del TPQ para comparar a 45 pacientes esquizofrénicos estables eutímicos con 126 controles sin antecedentes personales o familiares de trastorno psiquiátrico. Después de la comparación de las puntuaciones del TPQ entre los grupos, realizamos también un análisis multivariable para evitar los efectos de confusión de la edad, el género y la comorbilidad del trastorno por uso de alcohol y sustancias.
La evitación del daño (ED) era más alta en los pacientes esquizofrénicos que en los controles.
Discusión y conclusión:
Esto replica y extiende los resultados de estudios anteriores que indican que los pacientes esquizofrénicos tienen ED alta y que la ED podría ser un marcador para la vulnerabilidad genética subyacente a la esquizofrenia.
There is compelling evidence for the existence of susceptibility genes for bipolar disorder. Association studies using functional DNA variations are an important approach for identifying these genes. The enzyme catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) plays a key role in the degradation of catecholamine neurotransmitters and is a candidate for involvement in bipolar disorder. Recently a common functional genetic polymorphism that underlies population variation in COM Tactivity has been elucidated and a simple assay developed.
In a collaboration involving seven European centres, we have undertaken an association study of this functional polymorphism in 412 unrelated West European caucasian DSM - III-R bipolar patients and 368 ethnically matched controls.
We found no evidence of allelic or genotypic association.
We can conclude that variation at this functional polymorphism does not make an important contribution to bipolar disorder in the Western European population. Future studies using this powerful experimental approach can be expected to contribute to identification of bipolar susceptibility genes.
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