Adolescent brain develops differently in bipolar disorder

Adolescent brain develops differently in bipolar disorder
The images show the brain regions (right insula and frontal cortex) where volume decreased more over approximately two years in adolescents with bipolar disorder, compared to adolescents without bipolar disorder. Credit: Blumberg lab and Biological Psychiatry

In adolescents with bipolar disorder, key areas of the brain that help regulate emotions develop differently, a new study by Yale School of Medicine researchers shows.

In brain areas that regulate emotions, adolescents with bipolar disorder lose larger-than-anticipated volumes of , or neurons, and show no increase in white matter connections, which is a hallmark of normal adolescent brain development, according to the imaging study published May 29 in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

The differences were noted in the prefrontal cortex and insula in the scans—repeated over a two-year period—of 37 adolescents with bipolar disorder when compared to the scans of 35 adolescents without the disorder.

"In adolescence, the brain is very plastic so the hope is that one day we can develop interventions to prevent the development of bipolar disorder," said senior author Dr. Hilary Blumberg, professor of psychiatry, diagnostic radiology, and in the Yale Child Study Center. She is also the newly appointed John and Hope Furth Professor of Psychiatric Neuroscience.

Bipolar disorder often first appears in adolescence and is marked by severe shifts in mood, energy, and activity levels. Individuals with bipolar disorder can have trouble controlling impulses and have a high risk of suicide and substance abuse.

While adolescents tend to lose gray matter in normal development, the study showed that adolescents with bipolar disorder lose more. Moreover, the study demonstrated that they add fewer white matter connections that typically characterize development well into adulthood. These changes suggest that brain circuits that regulate emotions develop differently in with .


Explore further

Brain scans link frontal abnormalities to suicidal behaviors in adolescents, young adults

More information: "Anterior Cortical Development During Adolescence in Bipolar Disorder." DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.03.026
Journal information: Biological Psychiatry

Provided by Yale University
Citation: Adolescent brain develops differently in bipolar disorder (2015, June 1) retrieved 18 October 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-06-adolescent-brain-differently-bipolar-disorder.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
440 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

JVK
Jun 01, 2015
If you cannot understand virus-driven RNA-mediated cell type differentiation via amino acid substitutions, you will never understand how cell type differentiation occurs during life history transitions of any species.

See also: Oppositional COMT Val158Met effects on resting state functional connectivity in adolescents and adults http://link.sprin...4-0895-5

JVK
Jun 01, 2015
See also: http://medicalxpr...ood.html
Study solves mystery of memory and mood

Excerpt: "When we purified the cells we found that they are activated by different mechanisms, and generate new neurons that differ in their gene expression."

See also: http://www.nature...25a.html

Conclusion "...the extent to which recent positive selection in humans acts on pathways and amino-acid residues that have been conserved across mammalian evolution is uncertain. More importantly, it is often not clear how to investigate positively selected genomic regions for which the target gene, let alone its action, is unknown. And so a major challenge for population genomics remains the construction of meaningful null hypotheses. As Charles Darwin, the best known evolutionary biologist, once said13, "It is always advisable to perceive clearly our ignorance".

Population geneticists ignore Darwin's advice

rgw
Jun 01, 2015
The entire planet Earth is bi-polar; North & South.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more