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The impact of the trajectory of bipolar disorder on global cognitive function: A one-year clinical prospective case-control study

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BACKGROUND: The relationship between cognitive function and relapse of affective episodes in bipolar disorder (BD) is rarely studied. The aim of this prospective, longitudinal, case-control study was to assess the trajectory of cognitive function and mood occilations within a one-year period in patients with BD relative to healthy control (HC) individuals.

METHODS: The sample included 86 outpatients with BD in euthymia, and 44 gender-and-age-matched HC. All participants were evaluated with clinical assessement and neuropsychological testing at baseline and during euthymia after a year. Further patients with BD were reevaluated if they developed a new affective episode during follow-up. The patients´ affective states were recorded on a weekly basis as asymptomatic, subthreshold level, major depression or (hypo)mania. Cognitive changes over time were measured for a global cognitive score and for the four cognitive domains: 'working memory and executive skills', 'psychomotor speed', 'sustained attention', and 'verbal learning and memory' in patients and HC.

RESULTS: The study showed that cognitive performance in patients with BD was unaltered compared to baseline when they stabilised in euthymia following an affective episode and, at the one-year follow-up. Cognitive performance showed practice effect, thus improved within a year across patients with BD and HC. Furthermore, cognitive functions were not related to clinical subtypes BDI/II, prior psychosis, the polarity of the relapse and week-to-week mood fluctuations during follow-up. Functioning correlated weakly to moderately with week-to-week mood fluctuations.

LIMITATIONS: Modest sample size.

CONCLUSION: A one-year trajectory of BD seems to have no direct negative impact on cognitive function.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume278
Pages (from-to)189-198
Number of pages10
ISSN0165-0327
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021

    Research areas

  • Bipolar disorder, Case-control, Cognitive function, Prospective

ID: 60949135