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Can sleep improve bipolar disorder in adults?

    This is Science Today. About 5.7 million Americans suffer from bipolar disorder, a mental illness characterized by severe bouts of depression and mania and includes a disruption of normal sleep patterns. At the University of California, Berkeley, Allison Harvey, director of the Sleep and Psychological Disorders Laboratory, is conducting studies to see if improving sleep patterns can reduce bipolar episodes.

Harvey:    The potential that working with sleep might have for a very powerful adjunct, inexpensive intervention - that might really make a difference.

Narrator:    Emerging research has found that people with bipolar disorder seem to suffer more adverse health outcomes down the road than those without the illness.

Harvey:    Many years of sleep problems might be contributing to some of those poor health outcomes, given the emerging research just with healthy individuals that if you don't sleep well, you are at greater risk for these health outcomes.

Narrator:    For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.