A recent meta-analysis concluded that patients with schizophrenia have reduced cerebral volume, and this finding has been used to implicate neurodevelopmental events in the etiology of this disorder. Since bipolar-disorder patients and schizophrenia patients have some similar brain abnormalities, it was of interest to meta-analytically review the literature on brain size in bipolar disorder. Only seven studies met the inclusion/exclusion criteria for our meta-analysis, but none reported the brain size differences between the bipolar patients and the controls to be statistically significant. The composite effect size was a negligible 0.04 (95% CI: -0.17 to 0.25) and statistically not significantly different from 0.0 (no effect). Thus, it appears that bipolar disorder is not associated with the same cerebral volume reductions noted in schizophrenia. Implications for hypotheses regarding the etiology of the two disorders are discussed.
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