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Bipolar disorder is associated with dysfunction in prefrontal and limbic areas implicated in emotional processing.
To explore whether lamotrigine monotherapy may exert its action by improving the function of the neural network involved in emotional processing.
We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine changes in brain activation during a sad facial affect recognition task in 12 stable patients with bipolar disorder when medication-free compared with healthy controls and after 12 weeks of lamotrigine monotherapy.
At baseline, compared with controls, patients with bipolar disorder showed overactivity in temporal regions and underactivity in the dorsal medial and right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, and the dorsal cingulate gyrus. Following lamotrigine monotherapy, patients demonstrated reduced temporal and increased prefrontal activation.
This preliminary evidence suggests that lamotrigine may enhance the function of the neural circuitry involved in affect recognition.
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