Rob Dillard

A new study shows that people with bipolar disorder (BD) have deviations in the fronto-limbic network of their brains that may explain cognitive and emotional dysfunctions. The findings were reported in JAMA Psychiatry.

“Individuals with (BD) experience cognitive and emotional dysfunctions. Various brain circuits are implicated in BD but have not been investigated in a meta-analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies,” the investigating authors wrote.

In an effort to assess investigate the brain functioning of individuals with BD compared with healthy control individuals in the domains of emotion processing, reward processing, and working memory, researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis comprised of 49 functional magnetic resonance imaging studies consisting of just under 1,000 individuals with BD, and 1,027 healthy controls.

The findings showed that compared with healthy control individuals, people with BD exhibited amygdala and hippocampal hyperactivity and hypoactivation in the inferior frontal gyrus during emotion processing, hyperactivation in the orbitofrontal cortex during reward processing, and hyperactivation in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and subgenual anterior cingulate cortex during working memory, which may explain emotional and cognitive irregularities.

“This systematic review and meta-analysis revealed evidence for activity disturbances in key brain areas involved in cognitive and emotion processing in individuals with BD. Most of the regions are part of the fronto-limbic network,” the researchers concluded. They added that the findings indicate “that aberrations in the fronto-limbic network, present in both euthymic and symptomatic individuals, may be underlying cognitive and emotional dysfunctions in BD.” 

FYI:  Dr. Carmen-Silva Sergiou