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Facial expressions have greater impact on kids with bipolar disorder
Date:11/26/2007

PROVIDENCE, R.I. Children with bipolar disorder respond differently to facial expressions than children without psychiatric disorders, according to a new study led by a Bradley Hospital researcher.

These findings provide additional insight into the neurobiology of pediatric bipolar disorder. The study is published in the November issue of the journal Bipolar Disorders.

Although we know a great deal clinically about bipolar disorder in kids, our understanding of its neurobiology is quite limited, making it difficult to design targeted treatments, said lead author Daniel P. Dickstein, M.D., director of the pediatric mood, imaging and neurodevelopment program at Bradley Hospital. We used neuroimaging technology to study the brain-behavior interactions of children with bipolar disorder in hopes of shedding some light on this relatively unknown area.

Dickstein, who is also an assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, led this research while with the National Institute of Mental Health.

The study included 23 children with bipolar disorder and 22 typically developing children without psychiatric disorders between the ages of 7 and 17. Dickstein and his team used functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a non-invasive technique that localizes regions of the brain activated during cognition and experience, to scan the children while they encoded different facial expressions.

During the MRI scan, the children viewed photos of 32 different actors eight actors each displaying one of four emotions (angry, fearful, happy and neutral) from standard gray-scale photograph sets of facial expressions. After seeing the photos four times, they rated each face by answering questions such as How afraid are you" How hostile is the face" and How wide is the nose"

Thirty minutes after the MRI scan, children were given a surprise out-of-scanner memory task,
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Contact: Jessica Grimes
jgrimes2@lifespan.org
401-432-1328
Lifespan
Source:Eurekalert

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