MINDS Colloquium - Dr. Benjamin Goldstein - Heart Matters: Bipolar Disorder as a Vascular Disease


Upper Auditorium

Dr. Benjamin Goldstein
University of Toronto

Heart Matters: Bipolar Disorder as a Vascular Disease 
  1. Recognize the increased cardiovascular risk associated with bipolar disorder
  2. Identify different factors that may explain this association
  3. Consider how the heart-bipolar link may inform monitoring, treatment, and stigma-reduction in bipolar disorder
It has long been recognized that bipolar disorder is associated with both increased rates and premature onset of cardiovascular disease. Although these associations are in part related to such factors as diet, exercise, smoking, and substance use, the strength of the bipolar-cardiovascular link exceeds what can be explained by these factors. Therefore, the question arises, what else could potentially explain this link? This presentation will summarize key findings regarding the bipolar-cardiovascular link in adults, and will then focus on this topic in adolescents. Compared to adults, adolescents early in their course of illness have experienced far shorter duration of exposure to the symptoms, stress, and treatments of bipolar disorder. As such, they provide an ideal opportunity to evaluate and learn about the early genesis of the bipolar-cardiovascular link. The presentation will highlight recent findings regarding the association of traditional cardiovascular risk factors, such as obesity, blood pressure, and lipids, with brain structure and function among adolescents with bipolar disorder. The presentation will also highlight recent findings using complementary imaging approaches that evaluate the structure and function of tiny microvessels. The over-arching thesis of Dr. Goldstein’s work is that microvascular abnormalities among adolescents with bipolar disorder can provide insights regarding the causes of bipolar disorder, and can identify novel prevention and treatment strategies targeting both mental and physical health.
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