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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2010 Dec;122(6):481-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2010.01582.x.

The effects of lithium and anticonvulsants on brain structure in bipolar disorder.

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Institute of Psychiatry King's College London, UK.



To investigate the effect of lithium, anticonvulsants and antipsychotics on brain structure in bipolar disorder (BD).


A cross-sectional structural brain magnetic resonance imaging study of 74 remitted patients with BD, aged 18-65, who were receiving long-term prophylactic treatment with lithium or anticonvulsants or antipsychotics. Global and regional grey matter, white matter, and cerebrospinal fluid volumes were compared between treatment groups.


Grey matter in the subgenual anterior cingulate gyrus on the right (extending into the hypothalamus) and in the postcentral gyrus, the hippocampus/amygdale complex and the insula on the left was greater in BD patients on lithium treatment compared to all other treatment groups.


Lithium treatment in BD has a significant effect on brain structure particularly in limbic/paralimbic regions associated with emotional processing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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