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J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 2002 May;24(3):280-5.

Academic and cognitive abilities in children of parents with bipolar disorder: a test of the nonverbal learning disability model.

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  • 1Bipolar and Psychotic Disorders Research Program, Department of Psychiatry, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, OH, USA.


It has been hypothesized that children who are at genetic risk to develop bipolar disorder demonstrate deficiencies consistent with the syndrome of nonverbal learning disabilities (NLD); however, this hypothesis has never been tested directly. In the present study, a group of at-risk children (AR group; N = 28) was compared to a demographically matched control group of children of healthy parents (HC group; N = 24) for evidence of a constellation of features associated with NLD. Some characteristic features of NLD were evident, including significant Verbal IQ (VIQ) > Performance IQ (PIQ) discrepancies and psychomotor deficits. However, academic deficiencies in mechanical arithmetic relative to reading and spelling abilities were not demonstrated. These findings replicate and extend the current literature on the cognitive functioning of children of parents with Bipolar disorder (BPD). The results, however, do not support the presence of NLD in these children.

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