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Biol Psychol. 2012 Jan;89(1):148-55. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2011.10.003. Epub 2011 Oct 18.

Neural recruitment during failed motor inhibition differentiates youths with bipolar disorder and severe mood dysregulation.

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  • 1Emotion and Development Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services, 15K North Drive, MSC 2670, Bethesda, MD 20892-2670, USA.


Controversy exists about whether non-episodic irritability (operationalized as severe mood dysregulation, SMD) should be considered a developmental presentation of pediatric bipolar disorder (BD). While assessments of brain function may address this controversy, only one fMRI study has compared BD versus SMD. We compared neural activation in BD, SMD, and controls during a motor inhibition task, since motor disinhibition is an important clinical feature in both BD and SMD. During failed inhibition, BD youths exhibited less activation in the right anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and right nucleus accumbens relative to both SMD and healthy youths. Exploratory analyses indicate that, in BD youths, reduced activation in the right ACC may be independent of comorbid ADHD. These findings highlight neural distinctions between the phenotypically related BD and SMD populations.

Published by Elsevier B.V.

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