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The neurocognitive performance of drug-free and medicated euthymic bipolar patients do not differ

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Goswami U, Sharma A, Varma A, Gulrajani C, Ferrier IN, Young AH, Gallagher P, Thompson JM, Moore PB. The neurocognitive performance of drug-free and medicated euthymic bipolar patients do not differ. Objective: 

Although it is established that euthymic bipolar patients have neurocognitive deficits, the influence of medication on their cognitive performance is uncertain and requires investigation. Method: 

Neuropsychological tests of executive function, memory and attention were performed on 44 prospectively verified, euthymic bipolar I patients, 22 of whom were drug-free. Residual mood symptom effects were controlled statistically usingancova. Results: 

Drug-free and medicated patients differed only in delayed verbal recall (Rey AVLT list A7, drug-free > medicated), and perseverations during the five-point test (drug-free > medicated). When residual mood symptoms were controlled statistically, differences between drug-free and medicated subjects became insignificant. Medication effect sizes were modest. Significant correlations were found between residual depression scores and measures of verbal learning. Conclusion: 

Medications did not have any significant influence on neurocognitive performance, suggesting that neurocognitive deficits are an integral part of bipolar disorder.

Keywords: bipolar disorder; cognitive impairment; neuropsychology; psychopharmacology

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Psychiatry, Institute of Neuroscience, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Queen Victoria Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Publication date: December 1, 2009


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