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Bipolar Patients Found to Have Abnormal Brain Matter

A thinning of gray matter in patients with bipolar disorder was shown on the results of a new global MRI study recently.

Researchers from the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute conducted the study, as part of the international consortium ENIGMA (Enhancing Neuro Imaging Genetics Through Meta Analysis.)

During the study, they used MRI data to build a road map of bipolar disorder and how it affected the brain. Brain regions that are damaged most by bipolar are used for inhibition and emotions. The research findings were published in the May 2, 2017 issue of the journal Molecular Psychiatry, and for their study, the researchers used MRI scans of 2,447 adults afflicted with bipolar disorder, in addition to scans from 4,056 healthy control subjects.

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Compared to healthy control subjects, patients with the disorder were shown to have thinning of brain gray matter. The greatest deficits found in the brains of those suffering from bipolar were in the frontal and temporal regions of the brain, areas that control inhibition and motivation.

Senior author of the study, Ole A. Andreassen, professor, Norwegian Centre for Mental Disorders Research, University of Oslo, said, “We created the first global map of bipolar disorder and how it affects the brain, resolving years of uncertainty on how people’s brains differ when they have this severe illness.”

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