Any Connection between CP & Bipolar?
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Q:  Any Connection between CP & Bipolar?

Dr. Phelps,

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 3 years ago and I also have CP.  (I was born 2 months premature.)  I've been reading a lot about the use of MRIs in both bipolar disorder and in confirming CP diagnosis and to my untrained mind the pictures these articles describe seem quite similar.  Is there any connection between the two?

I know this question won't be useful to very many people on the site, but I would appreciate your thoughts.

Dear Susan -- 
I had to do a literature search (used
Pub Med, entered "cerebral palsy bipolar disorder") to see if there was any known connection.  Here's a paper on the topic.  If you ask librarian to get you the full text, you might find something interesting in the literature review or the discussion.  You were probably talking about "periventricular white matter hyperintensities" seen on MRI in bipolar disorder?  Note that the authors are also talking about that:  

An interesting association between the periventricular leucomalacia as an aetiological factor in cerebral palsy and the white matter lesions seen on magnetic resonance imaging in cases of bipolar disorder is noted.

Periventricular leukomalacia is fancy talk for "something bad, mal; in the white matter -- the fiber tracts, as opposed to the gray matter, which is neuron cell bodies (leuko means white); around the ventricles (the blue tunnels in this picture set of brain anatomy).  

In other words, you're not the first person to think there might be a link between CP and bipolar disorder -- but you might be the second research group to do so.  

Dr. Phelps

Published September, 2004


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