Structural brain abnormalities in first-episode mania.
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Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), we studied brain morphometric differences between patients with first-episode mania (n = 17) and normal control subjects (n = 16). Patients were admitted for their first psychiatric hospitalization and met DSM-III-R criteria for bipolar disorder, manic or mixed. Diagnoses were made using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R. Patients and control subjects were matched for age, gender, height, past history of substance abuse, and handedness, although control subjects had attained higher levels of education. MRI inversion recovery coronal scans were used for measurements. Volumetric measurements were obtained for cerebral hemispheres, lateral and third ventricles, caudate, thalamus, and cingulate gyrus. Patients with first-episode mania demonstrated significantly larger third-ventricular volumes, possibly increased lateral ventricular volumes, and differences in gray/white matter distribution compared with normal control subjects. The possible pathophysiological meaning of these findings is discussed.