Lithium Carbonate in a Poststroke Population: Exploratory Analyses of Neuroanatomical and Cognitive Outcomes.

Research paper by Yue Ran YR Sun, Nathan N Herrmann, Christopher J M CJM Scott, Sandra E SE Black, Richard H RH Swartz, Julia J Hopyan, Krista L KL Lanctôt

Indexed on: 20 Dec '18Published on: 20 Dec '18Published in: Journal of clinical psychopharmacology


Loss of gray matter after stroke has been associated with cognitive impairment. This pilot study aimed to investigate the therapeutic potential of lithium, a putative neurotrophic agent, in the stroke recovery process within a year of stroke occurrence. Twelve stroke patients (mean ± SD age, 71.1 ± 11.9 years) were recruited to the study, and eligible participants were prescribed open-label lithium for 60 days. Magnetic resonance imaging was used to assess global gray matter at baseline and end of treatment; global cognition was assessed using the standardized Mini-Mental State Examination and Montreal Cognitive Assessment, and verbal memory was evaluated using the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised. There was no difference in global gray matter volume between baseline and follow-up (t = 1.977, P = 0.074). There was a significant interaction between higher lithium dose and increased global gray matter volume (F = 14.25, P = 0.004) and a correlation between higher lithium dose and improved verbal memory (r = 0.576, P = 0.05). Lithium pharmacotherapy may be associated with gray matter volume change and verbal memory improvement in stroke patients, providing a rationale for future trials assessing therapeutic potential of lithium in a poststroke population.