Cognitive dysfunction is a core feature of bipolar disorder, which hampers functional recovery and reduces work capacity. However, there is a lack of treatments with solid and enduring pro-cognitive efficacy. This is partially related to major methodological challenges in this relatively new field including the absence of a brain-based biomarker model to select among candidate treatments. Preclinical and clinical studies point to erythropoietin (EPO) as one of the most promising candidate cognition treatments. PRETEC-EPO therefore aims to:
- Investigate cognitive effects of weekly EPO vs. placebo (saline) treatment for 12 weeks in cognitively impaired remitted bipolar disorder patients and their first-degree relatives and
- Identify patterns of early neural activity change that is predictive of subsequent cognitive improvement using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).