WHITE MATTER ABNORMALITIES ON MRI ARE LINKED TO WINTER BIRTHS IN
P.B. Moore*, A.
H. Young, I.N. Ferrier. Department Psychiatry, Newcastle
University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Introduction: Recently it
has been established that bipolar patients, show winter/early
spring birth excess. Although white matter abnormalities are
found three times more frequently in bipolars than controls, the
neuropathology and clinical correlates of the abnormalities
remain poorly understood.
Method: 7mm thick axial T2
weighted (TR=2300, TE=25, 100ms) and proton
density scans were examined from 79 bipolar patients (DSM IV; 15
males, 64 females, age 35.4±8.6yrs)
for the presence of deep subcortical (DWML) and periventricular
white matter lesions( PVWML). The birth season of patients
showing DWMLs or PVWMLs were compared with those of the general
RESULTS: Thirteen subjects
exhibited DWMLs, of whom 9 were born in the months Jan-March, a
frequency significantly different from the normal population (c 2=14.49,
DF=3, p=0.003) and from bipolars without DWMLs ((c 2=10.77,
DF=3, p=0.014). Seven of these patients had remained symptomatic
for 2 years despite adequate therapy.
COMMENT: Birth season,
illness outcome and DWMLs appear to be closely linked. DWMLs may
represent a marker of an in-utero toxic or infective insult.