FRIDAY, Oct. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Using brain imaging to look
at how working memory is influenced by emotions may help identify
which children have bipolar disorder and which have
attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), researchers
It is difficult for doctors to differentiate between the two
disorders based on behavioral measures alone, but the new finding
may help in efforts to develop diagnostic tests based on both
neurological and behavioral markers, the University of Illinois at
Chicago (UIC) researchers said.
The investigators used functional MRI to observe brain activity
in 23 children with bipolar disorder, 14 children with ADHD and 19
children without either disorder (controls) as they did a memory
task while viewing faces with different emotions. The children were
aged 10 to 18. Those with bipolar disorder and ADHD were not taking
medications, the study authors noted.
Compared to the children in the control group, those with
bipolar disorder and ADHD showed dysfunction in the prefrontal
cortex, which controls behavior (such as impulsivity), executive
function, working memory, attention and language, according to the
report in the October issue of the
Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent
Children with ADHD had the most severe dysfunction in the
prefrontal cortex, but those with bipolar disorder had more
deficits in brain areas involved in emotion processing and
regulation, the researchers found.
"Our hope is that by better differentiating between these two severe developmental illnesses, we can help develop more accurate diagnoses and more targeted treatments for [bipolar disorder] and ADHD," Alessandra Passarotti, assistant professor of psychiatry at UIC and lead author of the study, said in a university news release.
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about