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Assessment of Executive Functions in a Brazilian Sample of Bipolar Subjects

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 January 2013

Silvana Oliveira*
Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil)
Flávio Kapczinski
Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil)
Suzi Camey
Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil)
Clarissa Trentini
Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil)
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Silvana Oliveira. Institute of Psychology, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS). Rua Ramiro Barcelos 2600 room 120. Bairro Rio Branco. 90035-003 - Porto Alegre, RS (Brazil). Phone: + 51-3308-5475. E-mail:


Research has demonstrated impairments in executive functions in Bipolar Mood Disorder patients. Evidence shows that this impairment is present in both periods of active symptoms of the disorder, as well as euthymic stages, and is compounded by mood episodes, especially manic phases. The purpose of this study was to compare the executive performance of a sample of Brazilian bipolar patients in depressive episodes, (44 participants), euthymia (37 participants), and in controls (43 participants). The main instrument for evaluation was the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test. Significant differences were found in performance on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test between Bipolar subjects (Type I) (both in depression and euthymia) and the controls. No significant correlations were found between the number of manic episodes and the performance on execute measurement variables. The findings suggest that the executive dysfunctions in Bipolar Disorder may be related to both transitory and permanent deficits.

La investigación ha demostrado deterioros en las funciones ejecutivas de pacientes con desorden bipolar del estado de ánimo. Los resultados sugieren que el deterioro está presente en los periodos de los síntomas activos del trastorno, los estados de eutimia que pueden ser agravados por variaciones del ánimo, especialmente por fases maníacas. El objetivo de este estudio fue comparar el desempeño ejecutivo en una muestra de pacientes bipolares brasileños con diferentes diagnósticos. Participaron 44 depresivos, 37 eutímicos, y 43 controles. El principal instrumento de evaluación fue el test de clasificación de cartas de Wisconsin. Se observaron diferencias significativas en la ejecución de esta prueba entre participantes bipolares-depresivos y eutímicos (Tipo I)- y controles. No se observaron correlaciones significativas entre el número de episodios maníacos y el desempeño en la ejecución de medidas variables. Los resultados sugieren que las disfunciones ejecutivas en el desorden bipolar pueden estar relacionadas tanto con déficits transitorios como permanentes.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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