Researchers from Lleida study the influence of factors such as memory and planning on the quality of life of patients with bipolar disorder

On October 10th, World Mental Health Day is commemorated with the aim of raising awareness among the population about various aspects related to this concept

Researchers from the Biological Foundations of the Mental Disorders Group of the Biomedical Research Institute of Lleida (IRBLleida) study how certain neurobiological factors influence the quality of life of patients with bipolar disorder. Specifically, the researchers analyze cognitive factors - such as attention, memory and planning - and also inflammatory factors - such as the neurotrophic factor derived from the brain, which is a protein that plays an important role in the development of the nervous system. Cognitive dysfunction is a variable that interferes with the functioning of affected people, in the personal, occupational and leisure spheres, and, therefore, in their quality of life.

"The aim of our line of research is to examine how certain neurobiological factors influence the cognitive dysfunction of patients with bipolar disorder in the remission phase; that is, in periods of absence of symptoms of the disease ", explains one of the researchers of the Group, Maria Mur.

For this reason, this Group studies various lines of research in the field of cognition. Cognitive dysfunction is a complex construct that stands out from the traditional limits of psychiatric diagnoses. Several factors affect cognitive dysfunction such as education, age, progression of the disease or the simultaneous presence of two disorders, whether or not they are psychiatric.

One of these lines of research is focused on the evolution of cognition over time, in a sample of patients compared with healthy control cases. These longitudinal studies show that cognitive dysfunction persists even in periods free of symptoms, and how this dysfunction is associated with worse psychosocial functionality. The Research Group is also studying the influence of cognitive reserve in patients with bipolar disorder. The term "cognitive reserve" is understood as the capacity of the adult brain to better tolerate the effects of a certain pathology in order to minimize its symptoms. Therefore, a greater cognitive reserve would act as a protective factor of the development and clinical expression of certain neurological conditions. "In our work it is demonstrated that the cognitive reserve acts as a protective factor with respect to the expression of the disease of bipolar disorder," says Mur.

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The Biological foundations of mental disorders group currently investigates several lines of research in the field of cognition