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Obesity coupled with bipolar disorder may impair cognitive ability

06-07-17 Category: Mental Health

Obesity coupled with bipolar disorder may impair cognitive ability

The effects of obesity can be seen in the form of various physical disorders or mental health problems. Looking at its effects, clinicians continue to warn their patients against being overweight and obese. A recent study, titled “Adverse effects of obesity on cognitive functions in individuals at ultra-high risk for bipolar disorder: Results from the global mood and brain science initiative,” revealed that excessive weight due to obesity can result in exacerbated cognitive disability in those who are at high risk of suffering from bipolar disorder.

The study, published in the journal Bipolar Disorders in May 2017, considered the ills associated with bipolar disorder and the need to follow precautions. The researchers examined the significance of investigating co-occurring disorders along with bipolar disorder. They based their research on the findings of previous studies indicating the varied effects of non-communicable, prolonged and fatal medical problems like obesity and heart diseases on bipolar disorder patients along with the extent of the illness and its development.

The researchers obtained the details from the Recognition and Early Intervention on Prodromal Bipolar Disorders (REI-PBD) study. They tried to validate the initial stages prior to chronic bipolar disorder and examined the efficiency of aerobic exercises as an early method in the respondents who are at ultra-high risk (UHR) of being afflicted with bipolar disorder. The researchers observed the respondents, aged between eight and 28 years, from March 2013 to October 2015. The participants with a family history of bipolar disorder were contrasted with those in the control group and were then evaluated by using a 74-item checklist of observable manifestations. The respondents included in the control group had no family history of bipolar disorder.

According to the observations, the researchers saw 36 high-risk bipolar disorder patients, 33 at UHR for bipolar disorder and 48 age-matched controls showed multiple negative correlations with body mass index (BMI). The researchers also observed a statistically negative correlation between BMI and performance of the respondents using speed-processing measures. Tendencies of negative associations between BMI and working memory by making use of the Wechsler Memory Scale-III Spatial Span and an overall cognition score were also observed. Being at extremely high risk of being affected by bipolar disorder had a significant impact on the correlation between BMI and cognitive functioning.

Reducing weight in bipolar disorder patients may pre-empt cognitive impairment

Elucidating the findings, the researchers said, “Individuals, who are at UHR for bipolar disorder, on the basis of well-established phenomenological and family history data, are more likely to exhibit decrements in cognitive performance as a function of increasing overweight status. Our findings herein, as well as the salutary effects of bariatric surgery on measures of cognitive function in obese populations, provide the rationale for hypothesizing that mitigating excess weight in individuals at elevated risk for bipolar disorder may forestall or prevent declaration of illness.”

Obesity problems are rampant in the U.S. According to a report, titled “Adult Obesity Facts,” published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 36.5 percent U.S. adults have obesity problems. While conditions related to obesity may be the leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S., revelations of it exacerbating mental health problems or impairing cognitive ability are reasons enough for Americans to consider controlling their weight.

Treating mental illnesses

Efforts directed at encouraging Americans to lose weight have had little-desired effect in the past. Previous studies on obesity and related problems have not been able to pinpoint factors that aggravate them. People looking for recovery options usually tend to shy away from making new beginnings initially. Experts partly attribute it to the myth that mental illnesses are untreatable apart from the fear of stigma haunting their lives and families. Intensive outpatient programs at the Sovereign Health help patients embrace new chances at happiness. For more information about intensive outpatient program for mental health, including bipolar disorder treatment, call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with our representatives for expert advice to know about bipolar disorder diagnosis and recovery.

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