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J Psychopharmacol. 2010 Dec;24(12):1779-84. doi: 10.1177/0269881109353462. Epub 2010 Jan 15.

Perturbed reward processing in pediatric bipolar disorder: an antisaccade study.

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  • 1Section of Developmental and Affective Neuroscience National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Health, 15k North Drive, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA.


Pediatric bipolar disorder is a severe and impairing illness. Characterizing the impact of pediatric bipolar disorder on cognitive function might aid in understanding the phenomenology of the disorder. While previous studies of pediatric bipolar disorder have reported deficits in cognitive control and reward behavior, little is understood about how affective processes influence behavioral control. Relative to prior studies using manual-response paradigms, eye movement tasks provide a more precise assessment of reward sensitivity and cognitive and motor control. The current study compares 20 youths with bipolar disorder (mean age = 13.9 years ± 2.22) and 23 healthy subjects (mean age = 13.8 years ± 2.49) on a mixed pro-antisaccade task with monetary incentives. On both types of saccades, participants were presented with three types of incentives: those where subjects can win money, lose money, or neither win nor lose money. Impaired reward processing was found in youths with bipolar disorder relative to controls, particularly on antisaccades. This difference was reflected in lower error rates during incentive trials in the control but not in the bipolar disorder group. By comparison, no group differences were found on prosaccade trials. The results provide further evidence for deficits in cognitive and reward processing in bipolar disorder.

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