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Auditory Processing Deficits in Bipolar Disorder

Severe shortfalls seen in schizophrenia extend to BD

Deficits in frequency discrimination and emotion recognition – known to be more severe in schizophrenia – also extend to those with bipolar disorder and a history of psychosis, according to a study involving 137 individuals. Additionally, basic auditory deficits may be a marker for psychosis, regardless of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder diagnosis.

Investigators gave tone discrimination and emotion recognition tasks to 50 patients with schizophrenia, 30 with bipolar I disorder and a history of psychosis (BD+), 28 with bipolar I disorder with no history of psychotic features (BD−), and 29 normal controls.

Among the results:

• Those with BD+ performed at a level between those with BD− and those with schizophrenia on the more difficult condition of the tone discrimination task, and on the auditory condition of the emotion recognition task.

• There were no differences between the BD+ and BD− groups on the visual or auditory–visual affect recognition conditions.

• Performance on the tone discrimination task predicted performance on all conditions of the emotion recognition task.

Citation: Zenisek, R, Thaler N, Sutton G, Ringdahl E, Snyder J, Allen D. Auditory processing deficits in bipolar disorder with and without a history of psychotic features. Bipolar Disord. 2015;17(7):769-780.