Cognitive performance and psychosocial functioning in patients with bipolar disorder, unaffected siblings, and healthy controls
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Objective:: To assess cognitive performance and psychosocial functioning in patients with bipolar disorder (BD), in unaffected siblings, and in healthy controls. Methods:: Subjects were patients with BD (n=36), unaffected siblings (n=35), and healthy controls (n=44). Psychosocial functioning was accessed using the Functioning Assessment Short Test (FAST). A sub-group of patients with BD (n=21), unaffected siblings (n=14), and healthy controls (n=22) also underwent a battery of neuropsychological tests: California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT), Stroop Color and Word Test, and Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST). Clinical and sociodemographic characteristics were analyzed using one-way analysis of variance or the chi-square test; multivariate analysis of covariance was used to examine differences in neuropsychological variables. Results:: Patients with BD showed higher FAST total scores (23.90±11.35) than healthy controls (5.86±5.47; p < 0.001) and siblings (12.60±11.83; p 0.001). Siblings and healthy controls also showed statistically significant differences in FAST total scores (p = 0.008). Patients performed worse than healthy controls on all CVLT sub-tests (p < 0.030) and in the number of correctly completed categories on WCST (p = 0.030). Siblings did not differ from healthy controls in cognitive tests. Conclusion:: Unaffected siblings of patients with BD may show poorer functional performance compared to healthy controls. FAST scores may contribute to the development of markers of vulnerability and endophenotypic traits in at-risk populations.
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