Comorbid attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is common in bipolar disorder and associated with worse outcomes. Cognitive testing might be a tool to identify this group. The neuropsychological profiles of bipolar disorder patients with (n=66) and without (n=32) childhood ADHD were conmpared using a comprehensive battery of neuropsychological tests. Patients underwent rigorous diagnostic assessments for bipolar disorder and ADHD, as well as a parental interview to establish childhood ADHD.

Results show that the neuropsychological profiles of the groups were similar, except that the bipolar disorder patients with ADHD performed significantly worse on working memory. Working memory did not differ between those in the group who only had a history of childhood ADHD and those that still met criteria for ADHD in adulthood. We therefore concluded that cognitive testing had limited power to differentiate between bipolar disorder adults with and without childhood ADHD. Also, the subgroup of bipolar disorder patients with ADHD cannot explain the significant cognitive heterogeneity seen in bipolar disorder patients.

The studie was published in “International Journal of Bipolar Disorders” with the title: ”Neuropsychological profiles of adult bipolar disorder patients with and without comorbid attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.” Salarvan S, Sparding T, Clements C, Rydén E & Landén M. DOI: 10.1186/s40345-019-0149-9.

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