24 Aug 2020

Researchers create a map that highlights the brain circuits associated with mania

For most lay people, mania is a manifestation of bipolar disorder, a psychiatric illness that is typically not associated with brain lesions. However, mania can also appear following a brain injury in people with no previous history of bipolar disorder. Identifying the brain circuits affected in these “lesional” cases of mania, in addition to contributing to understanding the underlying mechanisms, could help find more effective treatments for bipolar disorder. A team of scientists from Portugal and the USA have now announced significant progress in the matter.

Researchers create a map that highlights the brain circuits associated with mania

In their latest development, published today (August 24th 2020) in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the scientists at the Neuropsychiatry Unit, working in an international collaboration with colleagues from Harvard Medical School, used a novel neuroimaging method, called Lesion Network Analysis, to construct a connectivity map of brain lesions associated with mania. More precisely than ever, this map highlights the circuits connecting brain lesions that induce mania.

graphic mania
Image: Diogo Matias

The authors thus confirmed that, while no single brain area is lesioned across all cases of secondary manic episodes, lesions are mostly connected to a specific group of regions in the cortex that regulate mood and emotions.

Read the full story here.