THURSDAY, Feb. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Common brain changes in response to emotional challenge have been identified in bipolar patients and their healthy siblings, suggesting a potential marker for bipolar risk, according to a study in the February issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.
Stephanie Kruger, M.D., of the Universitatsklinikum Carl-Gustav Carus Dresden in Dresden, Germany, and colleagues examined potential markers of bipolar risk and resilience in a cohort of lithium-responsive bipolar patients and their healthy siblings.
The researchers say they identified common brain changes after emotional challenge in bipolar patients and their healthy siblings. These changes were not seen previously in healthy subjects without a family history of mood disorder, suggesting a potential marker for bipolar disorder, the report indicates.
"The siblings' unique increases in the medial frontal cortex appear to identify a compensatory response in this at-risk group, as this pattern was not seen previously in healthy subjects without depression risk factors," the authors write. "This differential change pattern in patients and their siblings highlights the role of the anterior cingulate and medial frontal regions in mediating resiliency and vulnerability in bipolar disorder families."
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