Patients with bipolar disorder and low levels of pharmacological treatment adherence have greater levels of cognitive impairment, according to Dr. Ileana Fuentes and her associates.

After taking a neurological battery, 12 bipolar disorder patients with low treatment adherence performed worse than did 22 bipolar disorder patients with high treatment adherence in nearly all cognitive functions tested, but the effect was significant in verbal memory testing. The low-adherence group performed significantly worse in verbal memory immediate free recall, immediate cued recall, delayed free recall, and delayed cued recall.

Other factors found to be associated with poorer executive function and processing speed were greater number of manic episodes, history of psychosis, and fewer years of education, reported Dr. Fuentes of the University of Guadalajara, Mexico.

“Despite limitations of the study, our findings are clinically important, and they contribute to better understanding of the cognitive profile in low compliance patients with bipolar disorder. Low compliance, cognitive performance, and asymptomatic phase are important markers in [bipolar disorder] for further studies,” the investigators noted.

Find the study here (J Affect Disord. 2016 May;195:215-20 [doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2016.02.005]).