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12-10-2010 | Mental health | Article

Corpus callosum volume reduced in bipolar youth


Free abstract

MedWire News: Results from a brain imaging study suggest that young people with bipolar disorder (BD) have reduced corpus callosum volumes compared with their mentally healthy counterparts.

"Aberrant communication between specific regions of the cerebral hemispheres, particularly the prefrontal, parietal, and temporal lobes, may be important in the pathophysiology of several neuropsychiatric disorders including BD," explain Melissa Lopez-Larson (University of Utah, Salt Lake City, USA) and team.

They add that although a number of studies have found corpus callosum abnormalities in adults with BD, corpus callosum volume in youth with the mental health disorder has not been assessed.

To investigate, the researchers studied 44 young people, aged 6-16 years, with DSM-IV BD and 22 mentally healthy age-matched controls. All of the participants underwent magnetic resonance imaging scans of the brain to analyze corpus callosum volumes.

The team found that participants with BD had significantly smaller anterior midbody and posterior body callosal regions compared with controls, at 1.45 versus 1.52 cm3, and 1.17 versus 1.38 cm3, respectively.

BD patients also had reduced age-related increases in total corpus callosum volume compared with controls.

Furthermore, comparing the findings with results from traditional cross-sectional area measurements showed similar differences in corpus callosum size between BD patients and controls.

Lopez-Larson and team conclude: "Consistent with emerging neurodevelopmental models of psychiatric disorders, this study documents corpus callosum volume and growth abnormalities in youth with BD."

They add: "Further cross-sectional and longitudinal studies of the corpus callosum are clearly warranted to understand more fully how neurodevelopmental changes in this important brain structure are mediated by interactions with symptom type and severity, comorbidity, psychosocial factors (eg, stress), and medications."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Mark Cowen

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