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Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2008 Jan;18(1):48-54. Epub 2007 Jul 6.

Changes in brain activation during working memory and facial recognition tasks in patients with bipolar disorder with Lamotrigine monotherapy.

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Section of Neurobiology of Psychosis, Institute of Psychiatry, PO66 De Crespigny Park London SE5 8AF, UK.


Verbal working memory and emotional self-regulation are impaired in Bipolar Disorder (BD). Our aim was to investigate the effect of Lamotrigine (LTG), which is effective in the clinical management of BD, on the neural circuits subserving working memory and emotional processing. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging data from 12 stable BD patients was used to detect LTG-induced changes as the differences in brain activity between drug-free and post-LTG monotherapy conditions during a verbal working memory (N-back sequential letter task) and an angry facial affect recognition task. For both tasks, LGT monotherapy compared to baseline was associated with increased activation mostly within the prefrontal cortex and cingulate gyrus, in regions normally engaged in verbal working memory and emotional processing. Therefore, LTG monotherapy in BD patients may enhance cortical function within neural circuits involved in memory and emotional self-regulation.

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