New research may have found a link between motor function and mood. Previous studies have shown that people suffering with mental issues such as bipolar, schizophrenia and other mood problems, often have difficulty with postural control and balance. The findings from this new research may determine a clear connection between the two and may lead the way for preventive screenings that could predict if someone will develop one of these psychological issues.
“For a number of psychological disorders, many different psychiatric treatments and therapies have been tried, with marginal effects over the long term. Researchers are really starting to look at new targets,” said Bolbecker, research scientist in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences in Indiana University’s College of Arts and Sciences. “Our study suggests that brain areas traditionally believed to be responsible for motor behavior might represent therapeutic targets for bipolar disorder.”
The study addressed the brain regions responsible for motor control and mood. Researchers evaluated participants’ postural sway, the minor adjustments made while trying to stand in one position, while they maintained various positions with eyes closed and with eyes open. “It appears that people with bipolar disorder process sensory information differently and this is seen in their inability to adapt their movement patterns to different conditions, such as eyes open vs. eyes closed or feet together vs. feet apart,” said Hong. “The different conditions will cause people to use the information their senses provide differently, in order to allow them to maintain their balance.”
The results showed that those with bipolar had increased postural sway with their eyes closed, and had less control over side-to-side posture, which uses the hips rather than the ankles. The researchers believe that people with bipolar may have underdeveloped side postural control involving their hips, which is in alignment with developmental markers for the presence of bipolar.
© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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