Background: An increasing number of studies indicate the anterior cingulate gyrus (ACG) may play a role in the attention deficits associated with pediatric bipolar disorder (BD). Age, medications, and intelligence quotient (IQ) may affect ACG volume; few studies have controlled for these effects.
Methods: We recruited 16 children with BD and 24 children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD); 15 children with no psychiatric diagnosis (NP) were also included. All participants were evaluated with the K-SADS and a DSM-IV Autism/Asperger's Checklist; the ADI-R was also administered to ASD participants shortly after the study began. The participants completed a brain MRI scan on a 1.5Tesla Signa GE scanner. We segmented the ACG and compared left and right ACG volumes between groups. The influence of medications on the ACG volume was assessed while controlling for the effects of age and IQ.
Results: The left ACG volume was significantly smaller in the BD group compared to the NP (p=0.004) and ASD (p=0.006) groups. No significant differences were found in the right ACG volume. These differences do not appear to be attributable to medication use or IQ.
Conclusions: Pediatric BD patients have a smaller left ACG volume compared to NP children and children diagnosed with ASD. This replication and extension of previous studies suggest that the ACG volume abnormality may be a biomarker for BD.