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30-04-2012 | Mental health | Article

Alcohol dependence has greater impact in BD I than II


Free abstract

MedWire News: Alcohol dependence (ALD) has a greater negative impact on neuropsychologic functions in patients with bipolar disorder (BD) subtype I than in those with subtype II, researchers report.

Writing in Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, Ru-Band Lu (National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan) and colleagues explain that ALD is common among patients with BD.

To investigate whether comorbid ALD has differential effects on neuropsychologic function in patients with BD I and BD II, the team studied 38 BD I patients, of whom 16 had ALD, 56 BD II patients, of whom 18 had ALD, and 29 mentally healthy participants without ALD.

A neuropsychologic test battery was used to assess the participants for memory, attention/concentration, psychomotor speed, and executive functions.

The researchers found that BD I and BD II patients (with and without ALD) had significantly poorer scores on all neuropsychologic tests compared with controls.

Overall, BD I and BD II patients had similar scores on the neuropsychologic tests, except for Wechsler Memory Scale-third edition (WMS-III) subtest scores for working memory, in which BD I patients scored lower than BD II patients, at 93.19 versus 101.88.

However, the team found that the presence of ALD was associated with significantly greater neuropsychologic impairment in BD I than BD II patients, particularly regarding WMS-III subtest scores for general memory.

Lu and colleagues conclude that the findings indicate that "the neuropsychological impairments caused by ALD are worse in BD I than in BD II."

They add: "We therefore suggest that early intervention be seriously considered."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Mark Cowen

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