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First Effective Cognitive Intervention for Bipolar Disorder Treatment

Armen Hareyan's picture
Brain exercise treating bipolar disorder

For the first time ever, researchers at Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital have identified an intervention that addresses the cognitive deficits of Bipolar Disease.


While medications exist to address mood symptoms, there are no current treatments for the cognitive impairment that is common among people living with bipolar disorder and that is believed to limit their ability to function successfully in the community.

In a study published today in the prestigious journal Clinical Psychiatry, researchers found a significant and large improvement in overall cognition among patients who used a special regimen of the brain exercise platform, BrainHQ, from Posit Science, as compared to an active comparison group using other cognitive training. The large effects increase slightly in a follow-up assessment six months after training ending -- suggesting that the brain re-wiring from the plasticity-based exercises had ongoing and generalized benefit.

Brain Exercise Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

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Researchers suggest that brain exercises could be an effective non-pharmaceutical treatment for helping those with bipolar disorder function more effectively in everyday life.

“Problems with memory, executive function, and processing speed are common symptoms of bipolar disorder, and have a direct and negative impact on an individual’s daily functioning and overall quality of life,” said lead investigator Kathryn Eve Lewandowski, PhD, director of clinical programming for one of McLean’s schizophrenia and bipolar disorder programs and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. “Improving these cognitive dysfunctions is crucial to helping patients with bipolar disorder improve their ability to thrive in the community,” Lewandowski added.

Lewandowski and her colleagues knew from previous studies that this type of intervention had helped patients with schizophrenia improve cognitive functions. “There is considerable overlap in cognitive symptoms between bipolar disorder and schizophrenia,” Lewandowski noted.

Also see this book discussing alternative approaches to treatment of Treatment of Depression and Bipolar Disorder.

By Adam Romero
Ericho Communications