Jumbled numbers: math skills affected by bipolar disorder

Jumbled numbers: math skills affected by bipolar disorder

Willow Lawson

A study of bipolar teens has uncovered an unsuspected effect of the disorder: the deterioration of math skills.

Researchers at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia compared the mathematical and reading abilities of bipolar teens in remission, depressed teens and a group of healthy adolescents. Bipolar teens scored much lower on and took longer to complete math tests than other study participants did. The study appeared in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Most interesting, researchers say, is that math grades of many bipolar subjects sank about a year prior to diagnosis of the disorder.

The change may be due to anatomical abnormalities in the brain tissue, researchers concluded.

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