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Cognitive profile in middle-aged and older bipolar patients


Cognitive deficits are reported in euthymic and acute phases of bipolar disorder(BD) [1]. However, only few studies have previously evaluated the cognitive profile of middle-aged and older patients affected by BD [2, 3]. The main purpose of our study was to analyze the cognitive profile of bipolar patients aged between 45 and 70 years.

Materials and methods

36 patients with BD (DSM IV-TR) (25 with BD-I and 11 with BD-II) who complained a recent onset of cognitive deficits, were recruited from 2004 to 2009 at the Psychiatric Day-Hospital service of the University Medical School "Federico II". All patients underwent a comprehensive Neuropsychological assessment, focusing on short- and long-term mnesic and executive functions.

A control group was composed by 37 outpatients (45-70 years), followed by the Neuropsychological service for recent outbreaks of cognitive disorders. Exclusion criteria for the control group were psychiatric or neurodegenerative disease as well as cranial trauma.


No statistically significant differences were found between the study population and the control group with respect to the neuro-cognitive profile, even though patients affected by BD-I showed poorer performance in the executive functions, in the oral span and in the logical abstractive skills, when compared to the ones affected by BD-II and to the control-group patients.


Greater focus should be put on cognitive aspects of BD: in particular, in our sample, patients affected by BD-I seem to have a more severe cognitive profile compared with BD-II patients. Further investigations, hopefully with larger samples, are desirable to confirm these findings.


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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Cristiana Elce.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Elce, C., Falco, M., Ammendola, S. et al. Cognitive profile in middle-aged and older bipolar patients. Ann Gen Psychiatry 9, S174 (2010).

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  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Neurodegenerative Disease
  • Executive Function
  • Cognitive Deficit
  • Neuropsychological Assessment