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Does age at onset have clinical significance in older adults with bipolar disorder?

Authors

  • David Chu,

    1. Advanced Center for Intervention and Services Research for Late-Life Mood Disorders, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA, USA
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  • Ariel G. Gildengers,

    Corresponding author
    1. Advanced Center for Intervention and Services Research for Late-Life Mood Disorders, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA, USA
    2. Bipolar Disorder Center for Pennsylvanians, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA, USA
    • Advanced Center for Intervention and Services Research for Late-Life Mood Disorders, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA, USA.
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  • Patricia R. Houck,

    1. Advanced Center for Intervention and Services Research for Late-Life Mood Disorders, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA, USA
    2. Bipolar Disorder Center for Pennsylvanians, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA, USA
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  • Stewart J. Anderson,

    1. Advanced Center for Intervention and Services Research for Late-Life Mood Disorders, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA, USA
    2. Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, PA, USA
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  • Benoit H. Mulsant,

    1. Advanced Center for Intervention and Services Research for Late-Life Mood Disorders, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA, USA
    2. Bipolar Disorder Center for Pennsylvanians, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA, USA
    3. Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Canada
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  • Charles F. Reynolds III,

    1. Advanced Center for Intervention and Services Research for Late-Life Mood Disorders, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA, USA
    2. Bipolar Disorder Center for Pennsylvanians, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA, USA
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  • David J. Kupfer

    1. Advanced Center for Intervention and Services Research for Late-Life Mood Disorders, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA, USA
    2. Bipolar Disorder Center for Pennsylvanians, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA, USA
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Abstract

Objective

While age at onset may be useful in explaining some of the heterogeneity of bipolar disorder (BD) in large, mixed age groups, investigations to date have found few meaningful clinical differences between early versus late age at onset in older adults with BD.

Methods

Data were collected from sixty-one subjects aged 60 years and older, mean (SD) age 67.6 (7.0), with BD I (75%) and II (25%). Subjects were grouped by early (<40 years; n = 43) versus late (≥40 years; n = 18) age at onset. Early versus late onset groups were compared on psychiatric comorbidity, medical burden, and percentage of days well during study participation.

Results

Except for family history of major psychiatric illnesses, there were no differences between the groups on demographic or clinical variables. Patients with early and late onset experienced similar percentages of days well; however, those with early onset had slightly more percentage of days depressed than those with late onset (22% versus 13%)

Conclusion

Distinguishing older adults with BD by early or late age at onset has limited clinical usefulness. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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