More Evidence Brain’s Emotion Circuitry Disrupted in Bipolar Disorder

New research provides more evidence that the brain’s emotion circuitry is dysregulated in individuals with bipolar disorder and that this may result in impairment of patients’ ability to control emotion, leading to mood swings. Specifically, the study suggests that distinct circuit dysfunctions may contribute to different features of emotion dysregulation in bipolar disorder.

“This study provides important information regarding brain areas that may be important in controlling response to emotional material and the functional abnormalities in these areas in mood disorders,” senior author Amit Anand, MD, Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, said in a statement. The investigators say that it will be important to replicate these findings because, to their knowledge, no prior reports have implicated these prefrontal cortical regions as trait-related neural markers of emotional inhibition in bipolar disorder.

“These findings may have implications for the refinement of circuit-based treatments for bipolar disorder, including neurostimulation and psychotherapy,” John Krystal, MD, editor of Biological Psychiatry, who was not involved in the study, commented in a statement. “It is interesting that subtly different circuits distinguish symptomatic and nonsymptomatic patients with bipolar disorder when they are suppressing their happy and sad reactions,” Dr. Krystal added. Commenting on the study for Medscape Medical News, Stephen M. Strakowski, MD, professor and chairman, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Ohio, noted, “There have been relatively few studies comparing individuals with bipolar disorder across mood states, so this manuscript does improve the existing literature in that regard.”

by Megan Brooks, Medscape

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