Medication Effects in Neuroimaging Studies of Bipolar Disorder – Disorder Example

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"Medication Effects in Neuroimaging Studies of Bipolar Disorder" is a perfect example of a paper on the disorder.   The type of data used for studies reported in this paper was quantitative data. This reasoning is shaped by the objective of the study in which the authors aim to investigate the possible confounding effects of medication among medicated and unmedicated patients with bipolar disorder (Phillips et al. , 2008). To conduct a study that follows a similar methodology, researchers must first divide the patients into two groups: treatment and control groups, which in this case are the medicated and unmedicated groups respectively.

Quantitative measures would then be taken between the two groups and statistical analyses conducted to test if the respective measures differ significantly.                       The type of data used was appropriate for this study since it was easier to collect as compared to qualitative data. Since the test subjects were patients, the use of qualitative methods would have resulted in large experimental errors as the patients would not be in the frame of mind to participate in qualitative data collection methods like interviews. Quantitative data, on the other hand, is easier to collect as it mainly involved taking readings from devices. Data Collection Methods                       In collecting the data, personal identifiers like names were not included in the data; rather, respondents were identified by randomly assigned numbers.

This process ensured the anonymity of respondents which is an ethical concern in research. During the data collection process, similar measures were taken among the two groups of patients identified earlier. The data collection procedure employed ensured a direct comparison of data for the statistical significance of differences. A second strategy used to protect the rights of patients was that individuals who were unable to tolerate medication withdrawal and likely had a more severe illness were excluded from the study. The data collection tools were calibrated against standards and this ensured the readings obtained were both valid and reliable.

By extension, these attributes contributed to the reliability and validity of the entire research process. Data Analysis Procedures                       A number of data analysis procedures were used, however, the main one was a test of equality of means between medicated and unmedicated groups.

Relative risk tests were also used to determine whether one group was at a higher risk of having a potential confound of psychotropic medication upon experimental measures. The tests used enabled the researchers to directly compare the means of measures obtained for the two groups and thus determine whether the medicated patients group was more likely to have a potential confound of psychotropic medication upon experimental measures. Conclusion                       The study found no significant effect or ameliorative effects of psychotropic medications on abnormal structural and functional neuroimaging measures relevant to pathophysiologic mechanisms of the disorder.

For further validity and reliability of findings, different strategies for assessing medication effects were compared. These findings did not support the hypothesis and thus the hypothesis that medication had a potential confound of psychotropic medication upon experimental measures was rejected.                       A strength of the study is in the methodology used where both medicated and unmedicated patients were enrolled in the study as it allowed the researchers to adequately investigate the effect of medication on the two groups. The scientific merit of this study lies in the whole methodology of the process, from sampling to data analysis and recommendation.

A weakness could result from the fact that the sampling process was likely biased as some patients could not be eligible for the study. This could have skewed the findings. In future studies, processes must be instituted to ensure the excluded patients form part of the sample.


Phillips, ML, Travis, MJ, Fagiolini, A., and Kupfer, DJ. (2008). Medication Effects in Neuroimaging Studies of Bipolar Disorder. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 165(3): 313-20.
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