The parietal lobe (PL) supports cognitive domains, including attention and memory, which are impaired in bipolar disorder (BD). Although cross-sectional voxel-based morphometry studies found reduced PL grey matter (GM) in BD, none has longitudinally focused on PL anatomy in BD, relating it to patients' functioning. Thirty-eight right-handed BD patients and 42 matched healthy subjects (HS) underwent a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan at baseline. Seventeen BD patients and 16 matched HS underwent a follow-up MRI. PL white matter (WM) and GM volumes were measured. The trajectory of parietal volumes over time and the possible relation with the global functioning were investigated in both BD patients and HS. At baseline, BD patients showed significant reduced PL WM and GM and different WM laterality compared with HS. Furthermore, smaller PL WM volumes predicted lower global functioning in BD, but not in HS. At follow-up, although BD patients reported reduced PL WM compared with HS, no different pattern of volume changes over time was detected between groups. This study suggests the involvement of the PL in the pathophysiology of BD. In particular, PL WM reductions seem to predict an impairment in general functioning in BD and might represent a marker of functional outcome.
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