Declarative memory impairment in pediatric bipolar disorder

David C. Glahn, Carrie E. Bearden, Sheila Caetano, Manoela Fonseca, Pablo Najt, Kristina Hunter, Steven R. Pliszka, Rene L. Olvera, Jair C. Soares

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Objectives: Impaired verbal declarative memory has been proposed as trait marker for adult bipolar disorder. However, similar impairments in juvenile-onset bipolar disorder have not been yet documented. Here, we assessed declarative memory in a large sample of clinically well-characterized children with bipolar disorder. Methods: Forty-one children and adolescents with bipolar disorder [21 bipolar I disorder (BP-1), 10 bipolar II disorder (BP-II), and 10 bipolar disorder, not otherwise specified (BP-NOS)] and 17 demographically matched healthy participants completed a standardized learning and memory test. Results: BP-I children recalled and recognized significantly fewer words than healthy subjects, whereas children with BP-II and BP-NOS did not differ from controls. However, individuals with BP-NOS made more perseverative errors and intrusions than the other groups. Severity of mood symptomatology was not associated with memory performance in any bipolar subtype. Conclusions: Findings suggest that declarative memory impairments in juvenile BP-I are similar to those seen in the adult form of the illness. These impairments do not appear to be secondary to clinical state; rather, they may reflect trait-related impairments. Distinct performance patterns in BP-I, BP-II, and BP-NOS suggest that the broadly defined phenotype is significantly heterogeneous, and may not be informative for pathogenetic investigations of bipolar disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)546-554
Number of pages9
JournalBipolar disorders
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • Cognition
  • Declarative memory
  • Development
  • Juvenile mania
  • Pediatric bipolar disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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