Participants with bipolar disorder showed thinner cortical gray matter in the frontal, temporal and parietal regions of both cerebral hemispheres. Bipolar disorder had the greatest effect on the left pars opercularis, the left fusiform gyrus, and the left rostral median frontal cortex. Bipolar brain function is also associated with the hippocampus. The hippocampus plays a role in learning, consolidating and recovering memory.
It also participates in the functions of verbal memory, stress responses, emotions, goal-directed activity and sensorimotor integration. A recent study found that patients with bipolar disorder showed reductions in the hippocampus compared to people without mood disorders, 3 When this occurs, memory is severely affected. The right side of the hippocampus helps to associate places with specific memories, while the left side regulates verbal and visual memory. This region of the brain helps you regulate your emotional responses.
Bipolar disorder is widely believed to be the result of chemical imbalances in the brain. Bipolar disorder is characterized by a combination of state-related changes in psychological function that are restricted to episodes of illness, along with trait-related changes that persist during periods of remission, regardless of symptom status. A study in non-medicated patients reported significantly poorer performance on the Wisconsin card sorting test, the trail building test, and the Stroop test in patients with bipolar depression compared to a group of unipolar depression cases that were matched by duration and severity of illness. Untreated bipolar disorder can damage gray matter over time, which can cause health complications later in life.
In further studies at Johns Hopkins University, researchers interviewed all first-degree family members of patients with bipolar I and bipolar II disorder and concluded that bipolar II disorder was the most common affective disorder in both family groups. If you live with or are dating someone with bipolar disorder, then you may understand the impact this condition can have on the person's loved ones, too. Experts believe that bipolar disorder is caused in part by an underlying problem with specific brain circuits and the functioning of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Data from neurocognitive studies indicate widespread alterations in executive, attentional and emotional function during the manic phase of bipolar disorder.
These findings are consistent with studies showing a high trait, emotionality in bipolar patients using psychological mood manipulations. Secondly, characterizing the profile of brain dysfunction in bipolar disorder will also help identify new targets for drug treatment and, finally, may allow the identification of individuals at high risk of developing bipolar disorder. A doctor usually diagnoses bipolar disorder by drawing up a complete medical history and performing a physical exam. While it is promising that this phenomenon may show specificity for bipolar disorder compared to major depressive disorder87, it is not yet fully clear whether this effect is limited to bipolar depression or could represent a trait marker.
In addition, functional imaging studies, which allow researchers to see how the brain works during episodes, suggest that bipolar disorder can cause functional abnormalities. A detailed description of this cognitive and neurobiological profile has been elusive, due to a combination of status and trait related changes in bipolar disorder. Worrying about losing sleep can increase anxiety, making bipolar mood disorder completely worse. Bipolar disorder seems to run in families, and there seems to be a genetic part to this mood disorder.
Therefore, to understand the effects of bipolar disorder on the brain, we must first know what part of the brain is affected by bipolar disorder. .