Several reports have noted an increase in white matter hyperintensities (WMH) on MRI scans of adult patients with bipolar disorder. We investigated whether this increase was also evident in a group of adolescent patients with bipolar disorder. The sample consisted of 15 bipolar patients, 19 patients with schizophrenia and 16 healthy comparison subjects. All subjects were adolescents. WMH were blindly rated on T2-weighted and PD-weighted MRI scans using our own scale with documented inter-rater reliability. WMH were present in 10 of 15 bipolar patients (67%), seven of 19 patients with schizophrenia (37%) and five of 16 comparison subjects (31%). The bipolar adolescent group had a statistically significant increased presence of WMH compared both with healthy comparison subjects and the schizophrenic group. The association between WMH and bipolar disorder appears to extend to the adolescent years.
- Adolescent patients
- Bipolar disorder
- Brain imaging
- White matter hyperintensities