MRI scan sensitive to metabolic changes reveals brain differences in bipolar disorder
When I first started using lithium carbonate (LiCO3) I described it as comparable to ‘insulin’ that is, a substance that the body needed but was not capable of producing in effective quantities itself. This study seems to confirm that or at least hints at it:
The study, published Jan. 6 in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, revealed differences in the white matter of patients' brains and in the cerebellum, an area of the brain not previously linked with the disorder. Interestingly, the cerebellar differences were not present in patients taking lithium, the most commonly used treatment for bipolar disorder.
Using an MRI technique that is sensitive to certain byproducts of cell metabolism, including levels of glucose and acidity, University of Iowa researchers discovered previously unrecognized differences in the brains of patients with bipolar disorder. The T1rho MRI scans showed brain regions of elevated signal in the 15 participants with bipolar disorder compared to the 25 participants who did not have bipolar disorder. The primary regions of difference are the cerebral white matter (yellow) and the cerebellum (red). Credit: University of Iowa