Our response to COVID-19

We're supporting people to maintain their wellbeing and manage isolation.

Physical anomalies in relatives

How are physical anomalies relevant to relatives of people with bipolar disorder?

Relatives of people with bipolar disorder may show attenuated signs of the illness, such as physical features commonly identified with the disorder. These may include structural and/or functional anomalies as well as sleep disturbances.

What is the evidence for physical anomalies in relatives?

Moderate quality evidence suggests relatives of people with bipolar disorder show increased grey matter volume in the right inferior frontal gyrus and the left superior temporal gyrus compared to controls who do not have bipolar disorder or a relative with bipolar disorder. Decreased grey matter volume was found in relatives only in the right lingual gyrus.

Across all functioning tasks, relatives showed increased activation in the ventral anterior cingulate, right amygdala, and parahippocampal gyrus, and decreased activation in the right inferior parietal gyrus, left postcentral gyrus, and left superior parietal gyrus. During cognitive tasks, relatives showed increased activation in the frontal lobe, right caudate, right inferior frontal gyrus, dorsal anterior cingulate, and left middle temporal gyrus/superior temporal gyrus and decreased activation in the parietal lobe. During emotion processing, relatives showed increased activation in the right amygdala, right parahippocampal gyrus, and right middle occipital gyrus. During reward processing, relatives showed increased activation in the anterior and medio-orbital parts of the prefrontal cortex.

Moderate quality evidence also found a medium-sized effect of higher relative amplitude of the sleep-wake cycle in relatives compared to people with bipolar disorder.

June 2020

Last updated at: 5:48 am, 22nd June 2020
To view documentation related to this topic download the files below
Fact Sheet Technical Commentary

NeuRA Libraries

Title Colour Legend:
Green - Topic summary is available.
Orange - Topic summary is being compiled.
Red - Topic summary has no current systematic review available.