Cognitive impairments are present immediately following recovery from a first episode of mania, although at a lesser severity than those seen in more chronic patients with bipolar I disorder. Little is known about how deficits evolve over the course of illness, however, and whether these changes are associated with disease progression.
Patients with bipolar I disorder (DSM-IV-TR) receiving naturalistic clinical follow-up from the Systematic Treatment Optimization Program for Early Mania (STOP-EM) from July 2004 to May 2013 completed a comprehensive cognitive battery following recovery from their first manic episode and again 1 year later. Performance was compared between patients who experienced a recurrence of a mood episode (BDrecur) (n = 26) versus those that maintained remission (BDwell) (n = 27) over follow-up, as well as healthy comparison subjects (HS) (n = 31).
While both BDrecur and BDwell had impairments in overall cognitive performance relative to HS at baseline (mean difference = -0.59, P .4). BDwell showed larger improvements over follow-up relative to both other groups (P