Persistence of cognitive impairment and its negative impact on psychosocial functioning in lithium-treated, euthymic bipolar patients: A 6-year follow-up study

E. Mora, M. J. Portella, I. Forcada, E. Vieta, M. Mur

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96 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Previous cross-sectional studies report that cognitive impairment is associated with poor psychosocial functioning in euthymic bipolar patients. There is a lack of long-term studies to determine the course of cognitive impairment and its impact on functional outcome. Method A total of 54 subjects were assessed at baseline and 6 years later; 28 had DSM-IV TR bipolar I or II disorder (recruited, at baseline, from a Lithium Clinic Program) and 26 were healthy matched controls. They were all assessed with a cognitive battery tapping into the main cognitive domains (executive function, attention, processing speed, verbal memory and visual memory) twice over a 6-year follow-up period. All patients were euthymic (Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression score lower than 8 and Young mania rating scale score lower than 6) for at least 3 months before both evaluations. At the end of follow-up, psychosocial functioning was also evaluated by means of the Functioning Assessment Short Test. Results Repeated-measures multivariate analysis of covariance showed that there were main effects of group in the executive domain, in the inhibition domain, in the processing speed domain, and in the verbal memory domain (p<0.04). Among the clinical factors, only longer illness duration was significantly related to slow processing (p=0.01), whereas strong relationships were observed between impoverished cognition along time and poorer psychosocial functioning (p<0.05). Conclusions Executive functioning, inhibition, processing speed and verbal memory were impaired in euthymic bipolar out-patients. Although cognitive deficits remained stable on average throughout the follow-up, they had enduring negative effects on psychosocial adaptation of patients. © 2012 Cambridge University Press.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1187-1196
JournalPsychological Medicine
Volume43
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

Keywords

  • Bipolar disorder
  • cognition
  • follow-up study
  • lithium treatment
  • psychosocial functioning

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