Dittmann, Sandra; Biedermann, N. C.; Grunze, Heinz; Hummel, B.; Schaerer, L. O.; Kleindienst, N.; Forsthoff, A.; Matzner, N.; Walser, S.; Walden, Jörg (2002): The Stanley Foundation Bipolar Network: Results of the naturalistic follow-up study after 2.5 years of follow-up in the German centres. In: Neuropsychobiology, Nr. 1: S. 2-9




The Stanley Foundation Bipolar Network (SFBN) is an international, multisite network investigating the characteristics and course of bipolar disorder. Methods (history, ratings and longitudinal follow-up) are standardized and equally applied in all 7 centres. This article describes demographics and illness characteristics of the first 152 German patients enrolled in them SFBN as well as the results of 2.5 years of follow-up. Patients in Germany were usually enrolled after hospitalisation. More than 72% of the study population suffered from bipolar I disorder and 25% from bipolar 11 disorder. The mean +/- SD age of the study participants was 42.08 +/- 13.5 years, and the mean SD age of onset 24.44 +/- 10.9 years. More than 40% of the sample reported a rapid-cycling course in history, and even more a cycle acceleration overtime. 37% attempted suicide at least once. 36% had an additional Axis I disorder, with alcohol abuse being the most common one, followed by anxiety disorders. During the follow-up period, only 27% remained stable, 56% had a recurrence, 12.8% perceived subsyndromal symptoms despite treatment and regular visits. 27% suffered from a rapid-cycling course during the follow-up period. Recurrences were significantly associated with bipolar I disorder, an additional comorbid Axis I disorder, rapid cycling in history, a higher number of mood stabilizers and the long-term use of typical antipsychotics. Rapid cycling during follow-up was only associated with a rapidcycling course in history, a higher number of mood stabilizers and at least one suicide attempt in history. Copyright (c) 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel.