A new study published in the Journal of Biological Psychiatry has linked bipolar disorder or manic depression with accelerated shrinking of the brain. Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric condition defined as recurrent episodes of significant disturbance in moods. The study was conducted by a team of researchers led by Dr Andrew McIntosh at the University of Edinburgh.
As part of the study, researchers examined the grey matter in the brain of people with bipolar disorder. The study found that the loss of grey matter tissue was concentrated in areas of the brain which control memory, face recognition and co-ordination, namely the hippocampus, fusiform and cerebellum respectively. “For the first time, we have shown that as people with bipolar disorder get older, a small amount of tissue is lost in parts of the brain that are associated with memory and the co-ordination of thoughts and actions. The amount of brain tissue that’s lost is greater in people with multiple episodes of illness and is associated with a decline in some areas of mental ability,” McIntosh said.