Supersensitivity to light: Possible trait marker for manic-depressive illness

A. J. Lewy, J. I. Nurnberger, T. A. Wehr, D. Pack, L. E. Becker, R. L. Powell, D. A. Newsome

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

236 Scopus citations


Exposure to light during the night reduces plasma melatonin levels. A previous study showed that, in response to light, nighttime plasma melatonin levels fell twice as much in a group of acutely ill manic-depressive patients as in a group of normal subjects. The present study compares 11 euthymic manic-depressive patients not taking medications with 24 age- and sex-matched normal subjects. Melatonin levels in these patients also fell twice as much as the levels of the normal subjects, suggesting that supersensitivity to light may be a trait marker for bipolar affective disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)725-727
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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