Thursday, March 5, 2009

Follow-up and Continuation of "The Shady Grey Area"

So I've done a tad bit more research, mainly concerning the brain size differences in bipolars and schizophrenics. Results of two meta-analysis: no difference in bipolars and normals (p = .04)(Meta-analysis of brain size in bipolar disorder). However, with schizophrenics not only was there reduced cerebral volume, but larger ventricles (holes in the brain, don't worry, they're there in everyone) (Meta-Analysis of Regional Brain Volumes in Schizophrenia).

This is good for me and my kind, but bad for the schizophrenics. So my theory still applies for those with BPD. But I said I wasn't done with my own analysis, so I will finish it now.

To review, last post commented on an article that stated those with BPD and schizophrenia had less grey matter. I postulated that this means there's a larger amount of white matter or glials cells, both resulting in better/more connections and therefore communication between neurons. This is assuming lack of grey matter results in the illness. But what if the illness results in the lack of grey matter? Two points.

1. Consider this: the people used for the study were diagnosed, and therefore most likely on medication. Now, I'm all for meds and the resulting better quality of life, but this only works if you're on the right meds. Bringing in personal experience... NOW. Depakote, 1000 mg for a few months during my senior year of high school. Yes, one full gram. I swear to god this made me stupider. I was always good in school, I loved math and chemistry and science, and was good at it. I will brag that I was salutatorian for three years running. But that Depakote kicked in and I couldn't do physics and calculus scared the shit out of me. Sure, I'd never done these subjects before, but I swear it was the Depakote. Sometimes, you just have this feeling, right? Also, being on 6 different meds (not counting birth control) CANNOT be good for you and your brain matter. (My friends were somewhat disappointed when I dropped to seventh in the class and someone they were not too fond of gave the speech instead at graduation. Myself, I'm not too fond of public speaking and would've crapped my pants, so perhaps it was all for the best.)

2. Bipolars love to self-medicate. Alcohol is the most common form, but there's other stuff, and all you have to do is think you can fly and really, how bad could it be for you? or wish to feel something else, anything else than the crap you're feeling now. (Part of this is guess work, I am a Type II, but I've gathered this from reading.) And everyone knows what your brain looks like on drugs.

So I had started out my last post stating that the study I had presented would make us all look stupid, and maybe we are, compared to those not on meds or self-medicating. If you agree with this second part of my theory. However, I love the grEy area, and most likely it's a combination of all these things. In which case, as a whole we're probably as average (in the mental ability area) as you can get.

(This is the study referenced in the first blog: Lack Of Grey Matter In Brain Is Linked To Schizophrenia And Bipolar Disorder)


  1. very informative tasha! good work...i heard about the enlarged ventricles in schizophrenics before...i wonder what direct effect that has..

  2. i don't think they really know... just something they've always commented on. probably means more CSF, right? wonder what that does...?


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