Euthymic bipolar disorder patients have impaired executive control (greater interference), reduced vigilance, slower overall reaction times, and poorer accuracy scores compared with healthy controls, a recent research article shows.

Lead author Andrea Marotta, Ph.D., of the University of Rome, and colleagues compared a sample of euthymic bipolar disorder patients and age-matched healthy controls, and had both groups complete the Attention Network Test for Interactions and Vigilance (ANTI-V), a neurocognitive test that assesses the efficiency of attentional networks and measures orienting, executive and alerting networks, and vigilance (tonic alerting). Although the bipolar disorder patients exhibited normal phasic alerting and orienting, they performed worse on alerting and executive control, the authors found.

“Our results show that deficits in executive attention and sustained attention often persist in [bipolar disorder] patients even after complete remission of affective symptoms, thus suggesting that cognitive enhancing treatments programmed to improve these deficits could contribute to improve their functional recovery,” they wrote.

Read the full article in Psychiatry Research (2015 Sept 30;229[1-2]:490-6. doi: 10.1016/jpsychres.2015.06.026 ).