Unraveling psychomotor slowing in bipolar disorder
Number of pages
SourceNeuropsychobiology, 71, (2015), pp. 234-240
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC SMN
SubjectAction, intention, and motor control; DI-BCB_DCC_Theme 2: Perception, Action and Control
Background/Aims: In addition to affective and cognitive symptomatology, psychomotor deficits are known to be present in bipolar disorder (BD). Psychomotor functioning includes all of the processes necessary for completing a movement, from planning to initiation and execution. While these psychomotor symptoms have been studied extensively in schizophrenia and major depressive disorder, only simple measures have been conducted in BD. The present study examines psychomotor functioning in BD. Methods: Twenty-two euthymic BD patients and 21 healthy controls performed three computerized copying tasks varying in cognitive load. Movement times (MT), reflecting fine motor processing, and initiation times (IT), reflecting cognitive processing of visual-spatial information, were separately measured in each group. Results: The BD patients had longer IT but not MT in the simplest task and the opposite pattern of longer MT but not IT in the complex task. However, when controlling for residual mood symptoms, the MT were no longer significantly slower in the BD group. Conclusions: The longer MT and IT in BD reflect overall psychomotor slowing. Specifically, the results provide evidence for cognitive slowing in BD. In addition, the longer MT in the complex task reflect a slowed motor component of movement when the cognitive load is high and when depressive symptoms are present. These findings extend the current knowledge of the nature of psychomotor slowing in BD and may have important prognostic implications for patients.
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