04 aug SSF ross purple presentation-phenotypic divergence in sleep and circadian cycles
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Studying Sleep and Circadian Phenotypes Associated with Risk for Developing Psychosis

Dr. Ross Purple

Dr. Ross Purple

Senior Research Associate at the School of Physiology, Pharmacology & Neuroscience, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom.

Dr. Ross Purple is a Neuroscientist at the University of Bristol, United Kingdom where he studies the role of sleep in processing memories and how this relates to mental health problems. Dr. Purple graduated in Biology from Imperial College London and has a PhD in Clinical Neurosciences from the University of Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom, where he studied sleep and circadian rhythms in individuals at high risk for developing psychosis. His research is now particularly focused on how emotional memories are processed within the brain during sleep, and how this may lead to the development of mental health problems such as PTSD.

Phenotypic Divergence in Sleep and Circadian Timing Associated with Risk for Developing Psychosis

Following his research, he recently co-authored a paper (as lead author) entitled “Phenotypic divergence in sleep and circadian cycles linked by affective state and environmental risk related to psychosis” (vide Purple et al., 2023). As an ESRS member, Dr. Purple gladly accepted to share with us his research in today’s Sleep Science Friday and prepared a very nice presentation that we invite you to watch below.

Study Overview and Objectives

Previous research has shown that sleep and circadian rhythms are highly heterogeneous and often disrupted in psychotic disorders like schizophrenia. However, little is known of how sleep and circadian rhythms present prior to the onset of these mental health disorders. In this study, researchers aimed to identify the relationship between environmental risk for psychosis and sleep patterns in the general population. Participants were selected based on their responses to an online survey assessing risks for psychosis.

The Findings

The study found that individuals with a high load of environmental risk for psychosis had delayed circadian rhythms and experienced poorer subjective sleep quality. These findings suggest a need to distinguish circadian rhythm timing from other sleep phenotypes with interventions potentially modeling personalised light therapy for circadian phase realignment, thereby reducing the multisystemic disruption in mental health disorders.

For more details, watch and listen to Ross Purple presenting his very interesting research in the video below. You can also access his publication here.

"We are in a decade of several revolutions in the way we deal with sleep technology, there is Artificial Intelligence (AI) coming in, there is Deep Learning coming in, and we have to bring this new vocabulary into our daily practice."

"Consumer Sleep Technology refers to devices and apps used by customers for sleep tracking (and some for treatment) without the need for medical professionals or any medical prescription, to be used in the point of care."

“These results suggest that the delayed circadian phase that's previously been shown in patients with schizophrenia is also present in individuals with a high-risk profile but not seeking medical help, hence will not be on the radar of clinical professionals.”

"This study highlights the need to distinguish circadian timing from other sleep phenotypes with interventions potentially modeling personalized light therapy for circadian phase realignment, thereby reducing the development of multisystemic disruption in mental health." 

Recent publications from ESRS members

  1. Morales-Muñoz et al. (2023). Genetic background to attention deficit andhyperactivity disorder and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder symptomsat the age of 5 years: the role of sleep duration. Sleep.
  2. Kocevska et al. (2023). A Longitudinal Study of Stress During Pregnancy, Children’s Sleep and Polygenic Risk for Poor Sleep in the General Pediatric Population. Res Child Adolesc Psychopathol.
  3. De Weerdt et al. (2023). The DS-14 questionnaire: psychometric characteristics and utility in patients with obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep Breath.
  4. Cistulli et al. (2023). Positive Airway Pressure Therapy Adherence and Health Care Resource Use in Patients With Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction. J Am Heart Assoc.
  5. Sheybani et al. (2023). Asymmetry of sleep electrophysiological markers in patients with focal epilepsy. Brain Commun.
  6. Hrubos-Strøm, et al. (2023). Longitudinal Management and a Decision-Aid Tool in Treatment-Resistant Sleep Apnea. Curr Sleep Medicine Rep.
  7. Hansen et al. (2023). Associations between psychiatric comorbid disorders and executive dysfunctions in hypocretin-1 deficient pediatric narcolepsy type1. Sleep Medicine.
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