More severe impairment of manual dexterity in bipolar disorder compared to unipolar major depression

Department of Mental Disorder Research, National Institute of Neuroscience, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, 4-1-1, Ogawahigashi, Kodaira, Tokyo, 187-8502, Japan.
Journal of Affective Disorders (Impact Factor: 3.38). 12/2011; 136(3):1047-52. DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2011.11.031
Source: PubMed


Mood disorders are associated with various neurocognitive deficits. However, few studies have reported the impairment of motor dexterity in unipolar depression and bipolar disorder. In the present study, manual dexterity was compared between unipolar major depression, bipolar disorder, and healthy controls.
Manual dexterity was assessed by the Purdue pegboard test in 98 patients with unipolar major depression, 48 euthymic or depressed patients with bipolar disorder, and 158 healthy controls, matched for age and gender.
Compared to healthy controls, sum of the scores of right, left, and both hands subtests (R+L+B) was significantly lower in both patients with unipolar depression and bipolar disorder (P=0.0034 and P<0.0001, respectively). Furthermore, R+L+B was significantly lower in bipolar disorder compared to unipolar depression (P=0.0016). Lithium dose and chlorpromazine equivalent dose of antipsychotics were significantly negatively correlated with some of the subtest scores. On the other hand, depression severity did not significantly correlate with any of the subtest scores. Difference in R+L+B between unipolar depression and bipolar disorder remained statistically significant even after controlling for gender, age, lithium dose, and chlorpromazine equivalent dose (P=0.0028). Limitations Bipolar patients during manic episode were not included in the study.
Gross movement dexterity was impaired in both patients with unipolar depression and bipolar disorder. The severity of impairment was significantly greater in patients with bipolar disorder. The functional difference between unipolar and bipolar patients may suggest different pathological conditions between the two depressive disorders.

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