Original article| Volume 60, ISSUE 9, P951-956, November 01, 2006

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Impact of Neurocognitive Function on Academic Difficulties in Pediatric Bipolar Disorder: A Clinical Translation


      Previous research has demonstrated that academic and neuropsychological functions are compromised in pediatric bipolar disorder (PBD). Investigation of the degree to which neuropsychological deficits might contribute to those academic problems is needed to aid in the recognition and intervention for school achievement difficulties in PBD.


      A sample of 55 children and adolescents with PBD with and without attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (PBD group, n = 28; PBD+ADHD group, n = 27) were tested with a computerized neurocognitive battery and standardized neuropsychological tests. Age range of subjects was 7–17 years, with the mean age of 11.97 (3.18) years. Parents completed a structured questionnaire on school and academic functioning.


      Logistic regression analyses indicated that executive function, attention, working memory, and verbal memory scores were poorer in those with a history of reading/writing difficulties. A separate logistic regression analysis found that attentional dysfunction predicted math difficulties. These relationships between neuropsychological function and academic difficulties were not different in those with PBD+ADHD than in those with PBD alone.


      In PBD neuropsychological deficits in the areas of attention, working memory, and organization/problem solving skills all contribute to academic difficulties. Early identification and intervention for these difficulties might help prevent lower academic achievement in PBD.

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