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Speech comprehension worse in bipolar mania.


Bipolar disorder patients perform worse than do their counterparts without bipolar disorder at language comprehension tests at the behavioral level, but not the physiologic level, according to findings from a small-scale study.

A team of researchers from CHU Sainte Marguerite and Aix-Marseille Universite, Marseille, France, examined behavioral and electrophysiologic responses to speech by measuring the "N400 effect," an ERP (event-related brain potential) observed in patients with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia that typically is provoked via the subjects' response to unexpected or incongruous words at the end of a sentence.

Led by Dr. Michel Cermolacce of CHU Sainte Marguerite, the team compared responses from 38 participants, including 19 bipolar type I patients and 19 healthy comparison subjects. The patients with bipolar disorder were recruited from the Marseille University Department of Psychiatry while presenting with a mild to severe manic episode and did not have concurrent neurologic disorders (J. Affect. Disord. 2014;158:161-71).

The participants in the study were asked to listen to a series of congruous and incongruous complete sentences and judge whether the last word of each sentence was congruous or incongruous. The subjects' brain waves were measured throughout the test with an electroencephalogram.

The study participants with bipolar disorder exhibited a lower rate of correct responses for both congruous endings (76.7%, compared with 80% from healthy subjects) and incongruous endings (75% in patients with bipolar disorder, and 80% from healthy subjects). In addition, bipolar patients had longer response times when looking for congruous endings than their peers did (1,120 ms compared to 970 ms for healthy subjects.)

However, EEG readings showed preserved amplitude but delayed latency in difference waves, suggesting no significant disruption of brain waves through the N400. The authors report no conflict of interest.
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Author:Bock, Mike
Publication:Clinical Psychiatry News
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:May 1, 2014
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