Controversy exists about whether non-episodic irritability (operationalized as severe mood dysregulation, SMD) should be considered a developmental presentation of pediatric bipolar disorder (BD). While assessments of brain function may address this controversy, only one fMRI study has compared BD versus SMD. We compared neural activation in BD, SMD, and controls during a motor inhibition task, since motor disinhibition is an important clinical feature in both BD and SMD. During failed inhibition, BD youths exhibited less activation in the right anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and right nucleus accumbens relative to both SMD and healthy youths. Exploratory analyses indicate that, in BD youths, reduced activation in the right ACC may be independent of comorbid ADHD. These findings highlight neural distinctions between the phenotypically related BD and SMD populations.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute of Mental Health , National Institutes of Health . We thank the children and families for their participation which made this research possible and the staff of the Emotion and Development Branch at NIMH.
- Bipolar disorder
- Motor inhibition