Author(s): Kucyi A, Alsuwaidan MT, Liauw SS, McIntyre RS
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Neurocognitive dysfunction associated with bipolar disorder (BD) is pervasive, persistent across illness phases, and is demonstrated to predispose and portend psychosocial impairment. Moreover, no approved therapies for various phases of BD have been shown to reliably improve any dimension of neurocognitive performance. In this article, we emphasize that aerobic physical exercise is a viable neurocognitive-enhancing adjunctive treatment for patients with BD. The overarching aim of this review is to emphasize that aerobic physical exercise is a viable neurocognitive-enhancing adjunctive treatment for patients with BD. METHODS: We conducted PubMed and Google Scholar searches of all English-language articles published between January 1966 and February 2010 using the search terms bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, depression, exercise, and physical activity cross-referenced with each other and the following terms: cognition, executive function, learning, memory, attention, emotion, and behavior. Articles selected for review were based on adequacy of sample size, use of standardized experimental procedures, validated assessment measures, and overall quality. RESULTS: Available studies have documented an array of persisting neurocognitive deficits across disparate bipolar populations. Abnormalities in verbal working memory are highly replicated; deficits in executive function, learning, attention, and processing speed are also a consistent abnormality. The effect sizes of neurocognitive deficits in BD are intermediate between those reported in schizophrenia and major depressive disorder. Several original reports and reviews have documented the neurocognitive-enhancing effects of aerobic exercise in the general population as well as across diverse medical populations and ages. Proposed mechanisms involve nonexclusive effects on neurogenesis, neurotrophism, immunoinflammatory systems, insulin sensitivity, and neurotransmitter systems. Each of these effector systems are implicated in both normal and abnormal neurocognitive processes in BD. CONCLUSION: Available evidence provides a rationale for empirically evaluating the neurocognitive benefits of aerobic exercise in BD.
This article was published in Postgrad Med
and referenced in International Journal of Neurorehabilitation