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White matter lesions and season of birth of patients with bipolar affective disorder

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Brian Moore, Dr David Cousins, Professor Allan Young, Dr Victor McAllister, Emeritus Professor Nicol Ferrier


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Objective: it is established that patients with bipolar disorder have an excess of births in winter or early spring, The authors investigated a link between season of birth and white matter lesions with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Method: T-2-weighted and proton density MRI scans were examined for 79 patients with bipolar disorder (DSM-IV) for the presence of deep subcortical and periventricular white matter lesions. The birth seasons of patients with white matter lesions were compared with those of the general population. Results: Thirteen subjects exhibited deep subcortical white matter lesions, of whom nine (69.2%) were born in the winter months (January to March). Seven of these patients remained symptomatic, despite adequate treatment for more than 2 yea rs. Conclusions: Birth season, illness outcome, and deep subcortical white matter lesions appear to be closely linked. Deep subcortical white matter lesions may be a marker of a toxic or infective insult in utero.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cousins D; Young AH; Moore PB; Ferrier IN; McAllister VL; El-Badri SM; Shepherd DJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: American Journal of Psychiatry

Year: 2001

Volume: 158

Issue: 9

Pages: 1521-1524

ISSN (print): 0002-953X

ISSN (electronic): 1535-7228

Publisher: American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc.


DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.158.9.1521


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