Right-sided brain lesions predominate among patients with lesional mania: evidence from a systematic review and pooled lesion analysis

Transl Psychiatry. 2020 May 12;10(1):139. doi: 10.1038/s41398-020-0811-0.


Despite claims that lesional mania is associated with right-hemisphere lesions, supporting evidence is scarce, and association with specific brain areas has not been demonstrated. Here, we aimed to test whether focal brain lesions in lesional mania are more often right- than left-sided, and if lesions converge on areas relevant to mood regulation. We thus performed a systematic literature search (PROSPERO registration CRD42016053675) on PubMed and Web-Of-Science, using terms that reflect diagnoses and structures of interest, as well as lesional mechanisms. Two researchers reviewed the articles separately according to PRISMA Guidelines, selecting reports of adult-onset hypomania, mania or mixed state following a focal brain lesion, for pooled-analyses of individual patient data. Eligible lesion images were manually traced onto the corresponding MNI space slices, and lesion topography analyzed using standard brain atlases. Using this approach, data from 211 lesional mania patients was extracted from 114 reports. Among 201 cases with focal lesions, more patients had lesions involving exclusively the right (60.7%) than exclusively the left (11.4%) hemisphere. In further analyses of 56 eligible lesion images, while findings should be considered cautiously given the potential for selection bias of published lesion images, right-sided predominance of lesions was confirmed across multiple brain regions, including the temporal lobe, fusiform gyrus and thalamus. These, and several frontal lobe areas, were also identified as preferential lesion sites in comparisons with control lesions. Such pooled-analyses, based on the most comprehensive dataset of lesional mania available to date, confirm a preferential association with right-hemisphere lesions, while suggesting that several brain areas/circuits, relevant to mood regulation, are most frequently affected.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Brain* / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Cortex
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Mania*
  • Temporal Lobe