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Keywords:

  • age at onset;
  • bipolar I disorder;
  • bipolar II disorder;
  • neurocognition;
  • polarity of presenting episode;
  • psychosis

Objective

To examine which subgroups of DSM-IV bipolar disorder (BD) [BD type I (BD-I) or BD type II (BD-II), and subgroups based on history of psychosis, presenting polarity, and age at onset] differentiate best regarding neurocognitive measures.

Methods

A total of 199 patients with BD were characterized by clinical and neurocognitive features. The distribution of subgroups in this sample was: BD-I, 64% and BD-II, 36%; 60% had a history of psychosis; 57% had depression as the presenting polarity; 61% had an early onset of BD, 25% had a mid onset, and 14% had a late onset. We used multivariate regression analyses to assess relationships between neurocognitive variables and clinical subgroups.

Results

Both BD-I diagnosis and elevated presenting polarity were related to impairments in verbal memory, with elevated presenting polarity explaining more of the variance in this cognitive domain (22.5%). History of psychosis and BD-I diagnosis were both related to impairment in semantic fluency, with history of psychosis explaining more of the variance (11.6%).

Conclusion

Poor performance in verbal memory appears to be associated with an elevated presenting polarity, and poor performance in semantic fluency appears to be associated with a lifetime history of psychosis.