Coping with the New Era: Noise and Light Pollution, Hperactivity and Steroid Hormones. Towards an Evolutionary View of Bipolar Disorders

MG Carta1, *, A Preti1, HS Akiskal2
1 Department of Health Sciences and Public Health, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy
2 University of California at San Diego USA

Article Metrics

CrossRef Citations:
Total Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 104
Abstract HTML Views: 35
PDF Downloads: 25
ePub Downloads: 11
Total Views/Downloads: 175
Unique Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 83
Abstract HTML Views: 33
PDF Downloads: 24
ePub Downloads: 11
Total Views/Downloads: 151

Creative Commons License
© 2018 Carta et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Medical Sciences and Public Health, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy; Tel: +39 335.499994; E-mail:


Human population is increasing in immense cities with millions of inhabitants, in which life is expected to run 24 hours a day for seven days a week (24/7). Noise and light pollution are the most reported consequences, with a profound impact on sleep patterns and circadian biorhythms. Disruption of sleep and biorhythms has severe consequences on many metabolic pathways. Suppression of melatonin incretion at night and the subsequent effect on DNA methylation may increase the risk of prostate and breast cancer. A negative impact of light pollution on neurosteroids may also affect mood. People who carry the genetic risk of bipolar disorder may be at greater risk of full-blown bipolar disorder because of the impact of noise and light pollution on sleep patterns and circadian biorhythms. However, living in cities may also offers opportunities and might be selective for people with hyperthymic temperament, who may find themselves advantaged by increased energy prompted by increased stimulation produced by life in big cities. This might result in the spreading of the genetic risk of bipolar disorder in the coming decades. In this perspective the burden of poor quality of life, increased disability adjusted life years and premature mortality due to the increases of mood disorders is the negative side of a phenomenon that in its globality also shows adaptive aspects. The new lifestyle also influences those who adapt and show behaviors, reactions and responses that might resemble the disorder, but are on the adaptive side.

Keywords: Melatonin, Sleep, Biorhythms, Bipolar disorder, Quality of life, Globality.