BACKGROUND: In the last decades, there has been increasing interest in investigating the role of the vermis in bipolar disorder (BD), especially because of its involvement in cognitive processes. The main aims of this study were to explore the integrity of the vermis and elucidate the role of demographic and clinical variables on vermis volumes in BD patients, stratified according to gender.
METHODS: T1-weighted images were obtained for 38 BD patients and 38 healthy controls using a 1.5-T MRI scanner. Images were analyzed with a PC workstation with BRAINS2 software on a Linux system. Anatomical regions were traced manually from a blinded operator, with respect to subject identity and other clinical variables.
RESULTS: The direct comparison between the 2 groups showed no significant gray matter differences in vermis volumes. Interestingly, vermis volumes were significantly inversely associated with chronological age and age of BD onset, particularly in male subjects.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study provides evidence of the impact of aging on the vermis in BD, potentially related to earlier and faster gender-related neurodegenerative phenomena occurring during the progression of the disease.