Dementia risk for bipolar disorder patients
By Lucy Piper, Senior medwireNews Reporter
04 September 2013
Bipolar Disord 2013; Advance online publication

medwireNews: Patients with bipolar disorder are at increased risk for developing dementia, both pre-senile and senile, a study of a nationwide dataset in Taiwan confirms.

The findings “provide solid evidence for further investigating the underlying neuropathophysiological and pathological mechanisms that link bipolar disorder with the development of dementia,” say lead researcher Hui-Ju Tsai (National Health Research Institutes, Zhunan, Taiwan) and colleagues.

They report that bipolar disorder patients had a 4.07-fold increased risk for developing subsequent dementia, with similar risk increases for men and women, at 4.01- and 4.55-fold, respectively.

As well as a 4.57-fold increased risk for developing senile dementia, patients with bipolar disorder had a 3.77-fold increased risk for developing pre-senile dementia before the age of 65 years.

“Patients with bipolar disorder exhibited clinically identifiable signs of both pre-senile and senile dementia,” Tsai and team comment.

The associations were all significant after taking into account pertinent risk factors, such as medical and psychiatric comorbidities, the team notes.

The study, published in Bipolar Disorders, involved 64,804 individuals, aged an average of 74 years; 9304 had incident dementia first diagnosed between 2000 and 2009, and the others were dementia-free controls matched for age and gender.

The prevalence of bipolar disorder was 1.23% among dementia patients versus 0.21% among those without dementia.

The risk for dementia among patients with bipolar disorder was significantly increased for at least 5 years after bipolar disorder diagnosis, with odds ratios ranging from 3.89 for a latency period of 1 year to 4.15 for a latency period of 5 years.

The results were “remarkably consistent” across all five latency periods, the researchers report.

They say that “further research, including biochemical and brain imaging studies, will be warranted to provide a better understanding of the pathophysiology of the early process and progression of bipolar disorder to dementia.”

medwireNews ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2013

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