NeuroSPECT and Its Application in Bipolar Affective Disorders

  • Ismael Mena
  • Rodrigo Correa
  • Armando Nader


Bipolar affective disorders are a challenge to practicing psychiatrists both at the diagnostic and treatment ends. The diagnostic difficulties originate from the diversity of symptomatic expression and therefore to the difficulties on establishing a differential diagnosis. In this context, neuroSPECT can constitute a useful tool contributing positively to the differential diagnosis. For this purpose, it is essential to establish replicable neuro-functional markers of disease. The experimental evidence thus far indicates that there is functional impairment in orbito-frontal-subcortical circuits in bipolar affective disorders and demonstrate functional changes in frontal, temporal cortex and anterior cingulate gyrus. In this chapter, we describe the essential clinical aspects of bipolar disorders and the neuro-functional abnormalities reported by different authors. We also report on our experience in young bipolar I patients in mixed phase. These young patients present with increased perfusion by HMPAO SPECT in the following areas: executive frontal region (Brodmann areas 8, 9, 10), internal frontal region (Brodmann areas 32 and 24, anterior cingulate gyrus), posterior parietal region (Brodmann area 7), thalamus, caudate and putamen. There is also diminished perfusion in orbito-frontal area (Brodmann area 11), subgenual area (area 25) and anterior temporal lobe (area 38). These areas are stages of the circuits classically identified in the modulation of affective conditions. Finally, it is possible to suggest that the natural history of bipolar affective disorders is characterized by changes in its neurofunctional expression.


Bipolar Disorder Single Photon Emission Compute Tomography Brodmann Area Bipolar Affective Disorder Bipolar Disorder Patient 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ismael Mena
    • 1
  • Rodrigo Correa
    • 2
  • Armando Nader
    • 2
  1. 1.Radiological SciencesUCLA School of MedicineLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Clinica Las CondesLas Condes, SantiagoChile

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