Neurocognitive Functioning in Overweight and Obese Patients with Bipolar Disorder: Data from the Systematic Treatment Optimization Program for Early Mania (STOP-EM)
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OBJECTIVE: Obesity is frequent in people with bipolar I disorder (BD I) and has a major impact on the course of the illness. Although obesity negatively influences cognitive function in patients with BD, its impact in the early phase of the disorder is unknown. We investigated the impact of overweight and obesity on cognitive functioning in clinically stable patients with BD recently recovered from their first manic episode. METHOD: Sixty-five patients with BD (25 overweight or obese and 40 normal weight) recently remitted from a first episode of mania and 37 age- and sex-matched healthy control. subjects (9 overweight or obese and 28 normal weight) were included in this analysis from the Systematic Treatment Optimization Program for Early Mania (commonly referred to as STOP-EM). All subjects had their cognitive function assessed using a standard neurocognitive battery. We compared cognitive function between normal weight patients, overweight-obese patients, and normal weight healthy control subjects. RESULTS: There was a negative affect of BD diagnosis on the domains of attention, verbal memory, nonverbal memory, working memory, and executive function, but we were unable to find an additional effect of weight on cognitive functioning in patients. There was a trend for a negative correlation between body mass index and nonverbal memory in the patient group. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that overweight-obesity does not negatively influence cognitive function early in the course of BD. Given that there is evidence for a negative impact of obesity later in the course of illness, there may be an opportunity to address obesity early in the course of BD.
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