Solar insolation in springtime influences age of onset of bipolar I disorder

Markus Bauer, Tasha Glenn, M Alda, M A Aleksandrovich, O A Andreassen, Elias Angelopoulos, Raffaella Ardau, Y Ayhan, C Baethge, S R Bharathram, R Bauer, Bernard T Baune, C Becerra-Palars, F Bellivier, Robert H Belmaker, Michael Berk, Yuly Bersudsky, Ş Bicakci, H Birabwa-Oketcho, Thomas D BjellaLetizia Bossini, J. Cabrera, Eric Yat Wo Cheung, Maria Del Zompo, Richard S. Dodd, M Donix, B Etain, A Fagiolini, Kostas N Fountoulakis, Mark A Frye, Ana González-Pinto, J F Gottlieb, P Grof, H. Harima, C Henry, Erkki T Isometsä, S Janno, F Kapczinski, M Kardell, S Khaldi, Sebastian Kliwicki, B. König, T L Kot, R Krogh, M Kunz, Beny Lafer, M Landén, E R Larsen, Ute Lewitzka, R W Licht, Carlos Lopez-Jaramillo, Glenda M Macqueen, Mirko Manchia, Wendy Marsh, Mónica Martinez-Cengotitabengoa, I. Melle, F Meza-Urzúa, M Yee Ming, Scott Monteith, Gunnar Morken, E Mosca, Rodrigo Munoz, S V Mythri, F Nacef, R K Nadella, Fabiano G Nery, R E Nielsen, M C O'Donovan, A Omrani, Yamima Osher, H Østermark Sørensen, U Ouali, Y Pica Ruiz, M Pilhatsch, Roxanna Martinez-Pinna, F D R da Ponte, Danilo Quiroz, Raj Ramesar, Natalie Rasgon, M S Reddy, A Reif, P. Ritter, Janusz K Rybakowski, Kemal Sagduyu, Ângela M Scippa, W E Severus, Christian Simhandl, D. J. Stein, Sergio Strejilevich, Mythily Subramaniam, Ahmad Hatim Sulaiman, Kirsi Suominen, Hiromi Tagata, Yoshitaka Tatebayashi, Leonardo Tondo, Carla Torrent, A E Vaaler, J Veeh, E. Vieta, Biju Viswanath, M Yoldi-Negrete, Mark Zetin, Y Zgueb, Peter C Whybrow

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Objective: To confirm prior findings that the larger the maximum monthly increase in solar insolation in springtime, the younger the age of onset of bipolar disorder. Method: Data were collected from 5536 patients at 50 sites in 32 countries on six continents. Onset occurred at 456 locations in 57 countries. Variables included solar insolation, birth-cohort, family history, polarity of first episode and country physician density. Results: There was a significant, inverse association between the maximum monthly increase in solar insolation at the onset location, and the age of onset. This effect was reduced in those without a family history of mood disorders and with a first episode of mania rather than depression. The maximum monthly increase occurred in springtime. The youngest birth-cohort had the youngest age of onset. All prior relationships were confirmed using both the entire sample, and only the youngest birth-cohort (all estimated coefficients P < 0.001). Conclusion: A large increase in springtime solar insolation may impact the onset of bipolar disorder, especially with a family history of mood disorders. Recent societal changes that affect light exposure (LED lighting, mobile devices backlit with LEDs) may influence adaptability to a springtime circadian challenge.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Psychiatrica Scandinavica
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Journal Article


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