Overview: Cognitive impairment in people with bipolar disorders (BD) impacts on daily functioning and is associated with poor illness prognosis and poor quality of life. Sleep disturbance is another core symptom of BD. Sleep disturbance experienced by people with BD may be associated with, and perhaps worsen, cognitive and functional difficulties. A recent review which we conducted suggested an association between sleep disturbance and cognitive impairment in BD, and this may persist during periods of normal mood (euthymia). However, little is known about the changes in the brain that occur during sleep in people with BD (sleep architecture) and whether abnormalities in these changes 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 investigate links between sleep architecture measured by EEG and cognitive impairment in BD. We hope doing this may help to identify new potential 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 and sleep architecture will be a third external supervisor. The PhD candidate will undergo training in conducting and interpreting polysomnography sleep EEG 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 sleep EEG polysomnography and neurocognitive assessments.
Year 3: Analysis, write-up of thesis and publications, and presentation of results at an international conference.