Measurement tools for assessment of older age bipolar disorder: A systematic review of the recent global literature

Bipolar Disord. 2018 Jun;20(4):359-369. doi: 10.1111/bdi.12566. Epub 2017 Nov 6.


Objectives: More than 50% of people with bipolar disorder will be age 60 years or older by 2030. There is a need for more data to guide assessment and treatment in older age bipolar disorder (OABD); however, interpretation of findings from small, single-site studies may not be generalizable and there are few large trials. As a step in the direction of coordinated large-scale OABD data collection, it is critical to identify which measurements are currently used and identify potential gaps in domains typically assessed.

Methods: An international group of OABD experts performed a systematic literature review to identify studies examining OABD in the past 6 years. Relevant articles were assessed to categorize the types of clinical, cognitive, biomarker, and neuroimaging OABD tools routinely used in OABD studies.

Results: A total of 53 papers were identified, with a broad range of assessments. Most studies evaluated demographic and clinical domains, with fewer studies assessing cognition. There are relatively few biomarker and neuroimaging data, and data collection methods were less comprehensively covered.

Conclusion: Assessment tools used in the recent OABD literature may help to identify both a minimum and a comprehensive dataset that should be evaluated in OABD. Our review also highlights gaps where key clinical outcomes have not been routinely assessed. Biomarker and neuroimaging assessment could be further developed and standardized. Clinical data could be combined with neuroimaging, genetic, and other biomarkers in large-scale coordinated data collection to further improve our understanding of OABD phenomenology and biology, thereby contributing to research that advances care.

Keywords: assessment; bipolar disorders; measurement tools; older age; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Bipolar Disorder* / diagnosis
  • Bipolar Disorder* / psychology
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods
  • Humans
  • Needs Assessment
  • Psychological Techniques*