Processing speed — A potential candidate cognitive endophenotype for bipolar disorder

Mirona Letitia Dobri, Taya Prince, Alexandre Paim Diaz, Giovana B. Zunta-Soares, Sudhakar Selvaraj, Rodrigo Machado-Vieira, Thomas D. Meyer, Marsal Sanches, Jair C. Soares

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Bipolar disorder (BD) is a chronic multifactorial disorder that presents with cognitive impairment as one of its main features, in patients as well as in their first-degree relatives. However, the profile of cognitive dysfunction in BD patients and their relatives is not yet well defined. Various neurocognitive deficits have been proposed as endophenotypes for BD. In the present study, we explored the susceptibility to neurocognitive deficits in BD patients and their siblings compared to healthy controls. Method: A sample consisting of patients diagnosed with BD (N=37), their unaffected siblings (N=30) and a healthy control group (N=39) was assessed using the Brief Assessment of Cognition for Affective Disorders (BAC-A) battery of tests in various cognitive domains: memory, processing speed, working memory, reasoning and problem solving, and affective processing. Results: Compared to healthy controls, BD patients and their unaffected siblings showed deficits in attention and motor speed, or processing speed as measured by the Symbol coding task (p = 0.008), as well as a similar degree of impairment (p = 1.000). Limitations: The lack of statistically significant findings in the other cognitive domains could be related to differences in task difficulty. Most patients were taking psychotropic medication with varying effects on cognition and being treated as outpatients, implying a currently higher level of functioning, which may limit extrapolation of the sample to the general population of BD patients. Conclusions: These results support the view of considering processing speed as an endophenotype for bipolar disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100459
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders Reports
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Cognitive dysfunction
  • Endophenotypes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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