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20-01-2011 | Mental health | Article

Hyperinsulinemia linked to overweight in remitted bipolar patients


Free abstract

MedWire News: A high body mass index is the only factor significantly associated with hyperinsulinemia in bipolar disorder patients who are in remission, Taiwanese research shows.

"Insulin resistance, quantified by hyperinsulinemia, has been identified as a preclinical state for metabolic syndrome," explain Shang-Ying Tsai (Taipei Medical University) and team who add that "medicated bipolar manic patients are vulnerable to hyperinsulinemia in early remission."

To investigate factors associated with hyperinsulinemia is such patients, the team studied 56 patients with bipolar I disorder (aged 16-45 years) who were in full remission after experiencing mania or a mixed mood episode.

Each patient's levels of fasting plasma insulin, glucose, triglycerides, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol were measured, and their body mass index (BMI) was calculated.

In total, 15 patients (26.8%) were identified with hyperinsulinemia, which was based on the top quartile for fasting insulin, specified by gender, in the non-diabetic Taiwanese population and defined as 8.7 µIU/ml or higher in men and 11.3 µIU/ml or higher in women.

The researchers found that, of all the factors studied, BMI was the only factor associated with hyperinsulinemia. Indeed, overweight bipolar patients with a BMI of 24 kg/m2 or higher were 8.57 times more likely to have hyperinsulinemia than normal-weight patients.

The association remained true after accounting for the use, type, and dosage of mood stabilizers and antipsychotics.

Tsai and team conclude in the journal Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences: "Because hyperinsulinemia is a preclinical state for metabolic syndrome, a weight-reduction or weight-gain-prevention strategy should be emphasized among euthymic bipolar patients in order to reduce the risk of insulin resistance and ensuing metabolic disarrangement."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Mark Cowen

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