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Keywords:

  • adolescents;
  • bipolar disorder;
  • MRI;
  • MRS;
  • neurobiology;
  • neuroimaging;
  • neurophysiology;
  • pediatric;
  • PET

Objectives:  The aims of this paper are to provide an overview of neuroimaging findings specific to bipolar disorder and suicide, and to consider rational approaches to the design of future in vivo studies in youth at risk.

Methods:  Neuroimaging and related neurobiological literature pertaining to bipolar disorder and suicide in adult and pediatric samples was reviewed in a non-quantitative manner.

Results:  Specific structural and functional brain findings in bipolar disorder are described, where possible in the context of relevant current neurobiological theories of etiology. Diagnostic and prognostic implications are discussed.

Conclusions:  The simultaneous use of complementary neurobiological approaches may be a powerful way of identifying and validating factors reliably associated with bipolar disorder and suicide. A profile of neurobiological markers with which to screen for bipolar disorder and suicide risk may provide for earlier and more accurate diagnosis, perhaps even in the pre- or subsyndromal stages in high-risk youth.