Altered Reward Processing Can Signal Onset of Bipolar Symptoms

Autism and Pediatric Bipolar Disorder
Autism and Pediatric Bipolar Disorder
Children of a parent with bipolar disorder had altered functioning in the pregunual cingulate region of the brain when anticipating a reward.

Healthy children who have a parent with bipolar disorder show altered brain activation during reward processing, research shows. Compared with children with no Axis I psychiatric disorders among their first- or second-degree relatives, children of bipolar patients had altered function in the pregenual cingulate when anticipating a reward and in the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) when gaining or failing to gain a reward.

Children of bipolar patients had significantly lower Children’s Global Assessment Scale scores than a demographically matched group of low-risk children, as well as higher levels of novelty seeking.

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