Bipolar I patient show dramatic reductions in white matter integrity

Thiel et al in Neuropsychopharmacology (2024) reported that “Compared with HC [healthy controls], BD-I patients exhibited lower FA [fractional anisotropy] in widespread clusters (ptfce-FWE?< 0.001), including almost all major projection, association, and commissural fiber tracts. BD-II patients also demonstrated lower FA compared with HC, although less pronounced (ptfce-FWE?=?0.049).”

Editors Note: These data once more emphasize the importance of using lithium (Li) in bipolar disorder as it can ameliorate the deficits in white matter integrity that are so prominent in the illness. Li also improve the loss of cortical grey matter volume that evolves with illness progression. Li prevents episodes of depression and mania and reduces the incidence of suicides. That Li can reverse or ameliorate brain abnormalities in bipolar disorder is one more piece of evidence that Li should be considered a disease modifying drug (DMD) and started early in the course of illness in almost all bipolar patients. The new mantra for patients and clinicians is: Use more lithium and prevent illness progression.


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