Overview: Cognitive impairment in people with bipolar disorders (BD) is associated with reduced functional capacity, poor illness prognosis, and poor quality of life. Sleep disturbance is another core BD symptom which may be associated with, and perhaps worsen, cognitive impairments. Recent evidence has suggested an association between sleep disturbance and cognitive impairment in BD, which may persist during periods of normal mood (euthymia). However, little is known about the sleep architecture of people with BD and what aspects may be associated with cognitive impairment.
This project will use in-home EEG polysomnography to investigate different sleep stages and sleep architecture, and how this relates to cognitive function in euthymic people with BD compared to healthy participants. The project aims to identify the underlying mechanisms of sleep architecture affecting cognitive impairment in people with BD, which may identify treatment targets.
Training: The project will be supervised by two leading researchers in mood disorders, Dr Stokes & Prof Young, both members of the International Society for Bipolar Disorders Targeting Cognition Taskforce. Additionally, Dr Scott Cairney (University of York), an expert in sleep architecture will be a third external supervisor. The PhD candidate will undergo training in conducting and interpreting polysomnography recordings, neurocognitive assessments, and mood questionnaires. The project will also involve learning to recruit and interact with participants.
Year 1: Training, study set-up and participant recruitment.
Year 2: Administration of participant polysomnography and neurocognitive assessments.
Year 3: Analysis, write-up of thesis and publications, and presentation of results at an international conference.