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Predicting Bipolar Disorder in High-Risk Youths

Sleep disturbance may be a prognostic indicator

Sleep disturbance may predict the development of bipolar disorder (BD) in high-risk youths, according to an assessment of 734 young people and their parents.

Investigators looked at 3 groups of offspring: those of parents with BD diagnosed with BD at intake (BD/OB; n=47), those of parents with BD without BD at intake (non-BD/OB; n=386), and those whose parents did not have BD (controls; n=301).

Youths, who ranged from 6 to 18 years of age, and their parents completed assessments every 2 years covering children’s sleep and circadian phenotypes, as well as current psychopathology.

Among the results:

• BD/OB offspring who were experiencing a mood episode differed significantly on sleep parameters (ie had inadequate sleep) from the other 2 groups.

• Mixed logistic regression analysis revealed that baseline sleep and circadian variables (ie frequent waking during the night) were significant predictors of development of BD in the non-BD/OB group over time.

Citation: Levenson J, Axelson D, Merranko J, et al. Differences in sleep disturbances among offspring of parents with and without bipolar disorder: association with conversion to bipolar disorder. Bipolar Disord. 2015;17(8):836-848.