Cognitive functions in euthymic adolescents with juvenile bipolar disorder

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IntroductionBipolar disorder in adolescents is often referred to as juvenile bipolar disorder. A peak in the prevalence of bipolar disorder has been documented between the ages of 15 and 19 years. Wide-ranging neuropsychological deficits have been found in many studies of juvenile bipolar disorder. Persistent neuropsychological deficits present in the euthymic state suggest that such deficits could be vulnerability trait markers of the illness.AimTo identify and assess cognitive functioning in euthymic adolescents diagnosed with bipolar disorder.Participants and methodsA case–control cross sectional study, in which 30 euthymic bipolar adolescents were recruited from the psychiatric adolescent clinic of Kasr al Ainy and compared with 30 healthy controls.Psychometric procedureThe Hamilton Rating Scale of Depression, the Young Mania Rating Scale, the letter cancellation test, the digit span and digit symbol/coding tests, the Bender gestalt test and the Wisconsin card sorting test were used.ResultsCases had significantly higher mean scores than controls in the letter cancellation test and its omission errors as well as in the perseverative errors of the Wisconsin card sorting test, and lower mean scores in the digit span, digit symbol coding and the Bender gestalt tests. There was a significant positive correlation between the number of omission errors on the letter cancellation test and both of the number of manic episodes and the age of onset of the illness.ConclusionThere are neuropsychological deficits in the areas of sustained attention, set shifting, processing speed and visual and auditory short-term memory in euthymic bipolar adolescent patients, type I. There is a significant correlation between the number of manic episodes as well as age of illness onset and sustained attention.

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