Bipolar disorder is characterized by unusual shifts in mood and energy levels that can affect an individual’s ability to carry out daily activities. For roughly 5.7 million adult Americans affected by symptoms of the mental disorder every year, a recent study may provide some hope. The study suggests how subjecting bipolar disorder patients to a specific kind of brain training can help in increased and constant improvements in their cognition levels.
The kind of brain training discussed in the study, published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry in October 2017, is from Posit Science, the architect of the BrainHQ online brain exercises and application programs. The current research was based on previous findings concerning the effectiveness of BrainHQ in bringing about major improvement in cognitive abilities and measures, indicating how the brain exercises could prove to be an efficient and non-pharmaceutical way of helping people suffering from bipolar disorder.
“Unfortunately, there are currently no effective, standard treatments for cognitive deficits in patients, so effective treatment options are urgently needed. Cognitive brain training has been shown to be effective in a number of patient populations, and now in bipolar disorder, which is encouraging,” said lead author Dr. Kathryn Lewandowski of Harvard Medical School, Boston.
For the study, the researchers registered 84 patients of bipolar disorder aged 18-50 years and assigned 75 patients to an intervention group or an active comparison group on random basis. The patients limited to the intervention group were asked to undergo a specific regimen of exercises from BrainHQ for 70 hours for 24 weeks. The participants in the control group were required to spend a similar period on computerized exercises focusing on quiz-style games. The BrainHQ group participants had completed the exercise in roughly 43 hours as opposed to the control group respondents who managed completion of the exercise in approximately 48 hours.
Reaping benefits of BrainHQ exercise
The researchers observed that after the training mechanism, the respondents included in the BrainHQ exercise group had showed impressive gains in the preliminary results of overall cognitive performance. Though there was not much change in the secondary measure of community functioning, the participants with the most significant improvements in cognitive development and functioning revealed the largest gain in community functioning among the entire sample.
A follow-up of the participants after six months of the training revealed continued gain in overall cognition with slight improvement in sight. The researchers also observed a major change in the sub-domain of processing speed and a shift in the sub-domain of memory and visual learning abilities. Stressing on the success of the research, Dr. Lewandowski added, “These findings suggest that once the brain is better able to perform cognitive tasks, it will continue to strengthen those processes, even after patients stop using the treatment.”
The findings of the study are important as the exercise mechanism presents an effective way to treat bipolar disorder, especially in the face of medical sciences offering no pharmacological treatments to help improve cognitive functioning in bipolar disorder patients. The observation that brain training can help provide necessary relief to patients with the disorder makes it an efficacious and cheap treatment option.
The number of bipolar disorder treatment centers in the U.S. does not commensurate with the rising number of people showing signs of the disorder. However, there are some top-notch mental health care centers that provide an effective treatment plan, which usually includes a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Sovereign Health of Florida is one such center that offers customized therapeutic interventions aimed at providing bipolar disorder treatment in Florida. For more information about our treatment options for bipolar as well as other mental disorders, call our 24/7 helpline or get in touch with one of our online representatives.