Background: Biological rhythms (BR) disturbance has been suggested as a potential mediator of mood episodes in Bipolar Disorder (BD). The Biological Rhythms Interview of Assessment in Neuropsychiatry (BRIAN) was designed as an assessment tool to evaluate BR domains comprehensively. In the context of a trial evaluating a smartphone application delivering personalized psychoeducational contents for BD (SIMPLe 1.0), the main aim of this study is to evaluate the potential impact of SIMPLe 1.0 in BR regulation using the BRIAN scale.
Methods: 51 remitted BD patients were asked to use the application for 3 months. Paired t-test analyses were employed to compare baseline and follow-up BRIAN´s total and domains scores. The sample was divided into completers and non-completers of the study to evaluate differences between groups regarding BRIAN scores using ANCOVA analyses.
Results: The BRIAN’s mean total score of the whole sample significantly decreased from baseline to post-intervention (35.89 (SD 6.64) vs. 31.18 (SD 6.33), t = 4.29, p = 0.001). At post-intervention, there was a significant difference between groups regarding the total BRIAN mean score (29.47 (SD 6.21) completers vs. 35.92 (SD 3.90) non-completers, t = 2.50, p = 0.02). This difference was maintained after conducting a one-way ANCOVA controlling for pre-intervention BRIAN scores, F (1, 46) = 10.545, p=0.002.
Limitations: A limited sample, pre-post measures, and a short study timeframe could have affected the results. Additional factors affecting BR, such as medication, could not be ruled out.
Conclusion: Our results suggest that there are potential positive effects of a psychoeducational smartphone application as an adjunctive to treatment as usual on BD patients’ BR.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02258711.
Keywords: Biological rhythms; Bipolar disorder; Psychoeducation; Smartphone.