Publications by authors named "Diego Hidalgo-Mazzei"

52 Publications

Duration of untreated illness and bipolar disorder: time for a new definition? Results from a cross-sectional study.

J Affect Disord 2021 Nov 22;294:513-520. Epub 2021 Jul 22.

Bipolar and Depressive Disorders Unit, Institute of Neuroscience, Hospital Clinic, University of Barcelona, IDIBAPS, CIBERSAM, 170 Villarroel st, 12-0, 08036, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

Background: We primarily aimed to explore the associations between duration of untreated illness (DUI), treatment response, and functioning in a cohort of patients with bipolar disorder (BD).

Methods: 261 participants with BD were recruited. DUI was defined as months from the first affective episode to the start of a mood-stabilizer. The functioning assessment short test (FAST) scores and treatment response scores for lithium, valproate, or lamotrigine according to the Alda Scale Total Score (TS) were compared between patients with short (<24 months) or long DUI. Differences in FAST scores among good (GR; TS≥7), poor (PR; TS=2-6), or non-responders (NR; TS<2) to each mood-stabilizer were analyzed. Linear regression was computed using the FAST global score as the dependent variable.

Results: DUI and FAST scores showed no statistically significant correlation. Patients with a longer DUI showed poorer response to lithium (Z=-3.196; p<0.001), but not to valproate or lamotrigine. Response to lithium (β=-1.814; p<0.001), number of hospitalizations (β=0.237; p<0.001), and illness duration (β=0.160; p=0.028) were associated with FAST total scores. GR to lithium was associated with better global functioning compared to PR or NR [H=27.631; p<0.001].

Limitations: The retrospective design could expose our data to a recall bias. Also, only few patients were on valproate or lamotrigine treatment.

Conclusions: Poor functioning in BD could be the result of multiple affective relapses, rather than a direct effect of DUI. A timely diagnosis with subsequent effective prophylactic treatment, such as lithium, may prevent poor functional outcomes in real-world patients with BD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2021.07.062DOI Listing
November 2021

Study Protocol-Coping With the Pandemics: What Works Best to Reduce Anxiety and Depressive Symptoms.

Front Psychiatry 2021 2;12:642763. Epub 2021 Jul 2.

Imaging of Mood- and Anxiety-Related Disorders (IMARD) Group, Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Barcelona, Spain.

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and lockdown might increase anxiety and depressive symptoms in most individuals. Health bodies recommend several coping behaviors to protect against such symptoms, but evidence on the relationship between these behaviors and symptoms mostly comes from cross-sectional studies in convenience samples. We will conduct a prospective longitudinal study of the associations between coping behaviors and subsequent anxiety and depressive symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic in a representative sample of the Spanish general adult population. We will recruit 1,000 adult participants from all autonomous communities of Spain and with sex, age, and urbanicity distributions similar to those of their populations and assess anxiety and depressive symptoms and coping behaviors using fortnightly questionnaires and real-time methods (ecological momentary assessments) for 1 year. The fortnightly questionnaires will inquire about anxiety and depressive symptoms [General Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) and Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9)] and the frequency of 10 potential coping behaviors (e.g., follow a routine) during the past 2 weeks. In addition, we will collect several variables that could confound or moderate these associations. These will include subjective well-being [International Positive and Negative Affect Schedule Short Form (I-PANAS-SF) and Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS)], obsessive-compulsive symptoms [Obsessive Compulsive Inventory-Revised (OCI-R)], personality and emotional intelligence [International Personality Item Pool (IPIP) and Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire Short Form (TEIQue-SF)], sociodemographic factors (e.g., work status, housing-built environment), and COVID-19 pandemic-related variables (e.g., hospitalizations or limitations in social gatherings). Finally, to analyze the primary relationship between coping behaviors and subsequent anxiety and depressive symptoms, we will use autoregressive moving average (ARMA) models. Based on the study results, we will develop evidence-based, clear, and specific recommendations on coping behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. Such suggestions might eventually help health bodies or individuals to manage current or future pandemics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.642763DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8282901PMC
July 2021

Bipolar disorder and Susac syndrome: a case report.

Int Clin Psychopharmacol 2021 Jul 15. Epub 2021 Jul 15.

Bipolar and Depressive Disorders Unit, Institute of Neuroscience, Hospital Clinic, University of Barcelona, IDIBAPS, CIBERSAM Autoimmune Diseases Department, Institut d'Investigacions August Pi i Sunyer, Universitat de Barcelona, Hospital Clinic, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

Susac-syndrome is a rare autoimmune disease that manifests with mood alterations in up to 15% of cases and is usually treated with corticosteroids. We present the case of a 41-year-old woman with a first manic episode and history of Susac-syndrome, secondary Cushing's syndrome after receiving high doses of corticosteroids and a previous depressive episode. Differentiating between primary and secondary mania is difficult, as people with bipolar disorder are prone to multiple psychiatric and nonpsychiatric comorbidities, in this case, the differential diagnosis included secondary mania, corticoid-induced manic episode and primary bipolar disorder. Upon admission, corticosteroid treatment was suspended, and the patient was started on lithium and risperidone. Secondary causes of mania were discarded and, assessing temporal and dosage criteria, it was deemed unlikely that the present episode was corticosteroid-induced. One-year outpatient follow-up pointed towards a primary bipolar type I disorder, as a separate entity from her Susac-syndrome. Corticosteroid use or abrupt withdrawal pose an underestimated risk of inducing depressive or manic symptoms, which may unmask affective disorders in susceptible individuals. Many medical conditions share CNS involvement and/or high-dose/prolonged corticosteroid treatment. In such cases, psychiatric manifestations such as mania or depression should be regarded as secondary and studied to determine the existence of medical complications before considering primary psychiatric conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/YIC.0000000000000375DOI Listing
July 2021

Feasibility of mHealth interventions for depressive symptoms in Latin America: a systematic review.

Int Rev Psychiatry 2021 May 9;33(3):300-311. Epub 2021 Jun 9.

Bipolar and Depressive Disorders Unit, Hospital Clinic de Barcelona, Institute of Neuroscience, University of Barcelona, IDIBAPS, CIBERSAM, Barcelona, Spain.

Depression is a prevalent disorder and leading cause of disability in Latin America, where the mental health treatment gap is still above 50%. We sought to synthesise and assess the quality of the evidence on the feasibility of mHealth-based interventions for depression in Latin America. We conducted a literature search of studies published in 2007 and after using four electronic databases. We included peer-reviewed articles, in English, Spanish or Portuguese, that evaluated interventions for depressive symptoms. Two authors independently extracted data using forms developed a priori. We assessed appropriateness of reporting utilising the CONSORT checklist for feasibility trials. Eight manuscripts were included for full data extraction. Appropriate reporting varied greatly. Most ( = 6, 75%) of studies were conducted in primary care settings and sought to deliver psychoeducation or behaviour change interventions for depressive symptoms. We found great heterogeneity in the assessment of feasibility. Two studies used comparator conditions. mHealth research for depression in Latin America is scarce. Included studies showed some feasibility despite methodological inconsistencies. Given the dire need for evidence-based mental health interventions in this region, governments and stakeholders must continue promoting and funding research tailored to cultural and population characteristics with subsequent pragmatic clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09540261.2021.1887822DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8318676PMC
May 2021

Patients' adherence to smartphone apps in the management of bipolar disorder: a systematic review.

Int J Bipolar Disord 2021 Jun 3;9(1):19. Epub 2021 Jun 3.

Department of Psychiatry, CHU Clermont-Ferrand, University of Clermont Auvergne, CNRS, Clermont Auvergne INP, Institut Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand, France.

Background: Despite an increasing number of available mental health apps in the bipolar disorder field, these tools remain scarcely implemented in everyday practice and are quickly discontinued by patients after downloading. The aim of this study is to explore adherence characteristics of bipolar disorder patients to dedicated smartphone interventions in research studies.

Methods: A systematic review following PRISMA guidelines was conducted. Three databases (EMBASE, PsychInfo and MEDLINE) were searched using the following keywords: "bipolar disorder" or "mood disorder" or "bipolar" combined with "digital" or "mobile" or "phone" or "smartphone" or "mHealth" or "ehealth" or "mobile health" or "app" or "mobile-health".

Results: Thirteen articles remained in the review after exclusion criteria were applied. Of the 118 eligible studies, 39 did not provide adherence characteristics. Among the selected papers, study length, sample size and definition of measures of adherence were strongly heterogeneous. Activity rates ranged from 58 to 91.6%.

Conclusion: The adherence of bipolar patients to apps is understudied. Standardised measures of adherence should be defined and systematically evaluated in future studies dedicated to these tools.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40345-021-00224-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8175501PMC
June 2021

PRimary carE digital Support ToOl in mental health (PRESTO): Design, development and study protocols.

Rev Psiquiatr Salud Ment 2021 Apr 29. Epub 2021 Apr 29.

Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Institute of Neuroscience, Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, 170 Villarroel st, 12-0, 08036 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain; Digital Innovation Group, Bipolar and Depressive Disorders Unit, Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain; University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain; Mental Health Research Networking Center (CIBERSAM), Madrid, Spain; Centre for Affective Disorders, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King's College London, London, United Kingdom. Electronic address:

Background: About 30-50% of Primary Care (PC) users in Spain suffer mental health problems, mostly mild to moderate anxious and depressive symptoms, which account for 2% of Spain's total Gross domestic product and 50% of the costs associated to all mental disorders. Mobile health tools have demonstrated to cost-effectively reduce anxious and depressive symptoms while machine learning (ML) techniques have shown to accurately detect severe cases. The main aim of this project is to develop a comprehensive ML digital support platform (PRESTO) to cost-effectively screen, assess, triage, and provide personalized treatments for anxious and depressive symptoms in PC.

Methods: The project will be carried out in 3 complementary phases: First, a ML predictive severity model will be built based on all the cases referred to the PC mental health support programme during the last 5 years in Catalonia. Simultaneously, a smartphone app to monitor and deliver psychological interventions for anxiety and depressive symptoms will be developed and tested in a clinical trial. Finally, the ML models and the app will be integrated in a comprehensive decision-support platform (PRESTO) which will triage and assign to each patient a specific intervention based on individual personal and clinical characteristics. The effectiveness of PRESTO to reduce waiting times in receiving mental healthcare will be tested in a stepped-wedge cluster randomized controlled trial in 5 PC centres.

Discussion: PRESTO will offer timely and personalized cost-effective mental health treatment to people with mild to moderate anxious and depressive symptoms. This will result in a reduction of the burden of mental health problems in PC and on society as a whole.

Trial Registration: The project and their clinical trials were registered in Clinical Trials.gov: NCT04559360 (September 2020).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rpsm.2021.04.003DOI Listing
April 2021

Risk of cancer in bipolar disorder and the potential role of lithium: International collaborative systematic review and meta-analyses.

Neurosci Biobehav Rev 2021 07 5;126:529-541. Epub 2021 Apr 5.

Deakin University, IMPACT, The Institute for Mental and Physical Health and Clinical Translation, School of Medicine, Barwon Health, Geelong, Australia; Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, and the Department of Psychiatry, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia; Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia. Electronic address:

We examined bipolar disorder (BD) as a risk factor for developing cancer and the role of lithium on cancer incidence. We conducted two systematic review and meta-analyses of population-based studies providing data on these associations. We screened articles indexed in MEDLINE, Scopus, Embase, and PsycINFO up to August 2020. The first random-effects meta-analysis, based on 4,910,661 individuals from nine studies estimated an increased risk of cancer of any kind [RR = 1.24 (1.05-1.46); p < 0.01], especially breast cancer [RR = 1.33 (1.15-1.55); p < 0.01] in BD. The second random-effects meta-analysis, based on 2,606,187 individuals from five studies did not show increased risk of cancer in people with BD using lithium, and even suggested a small protective effect both in overall [RR = 0.94 (0.72-1.22); p = 0.66] and urinary cancer [RR = 0.93 (0.75-1.14); p = 0.48] although these findings did not reach statistical significance. The current evidence highlights that cancer risk is increased in individuals with BD, particularly breast cancer in women. Lithium may have a potential protective effect on cancer, including urinary cancer. The role of lithium as a mainstay of treatment for BD is reinforced by this study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2021.03.034DOI Listing
July 2021

Overview of lithium's use: a nationwide survey.

Int J Bipolar Disord 2021 Mar 9;9(1):10. Epub 2021 Mar 9.

Bioaraba, Research Group on Severe Mental Illness; Osakidetza, Araba University Hospital, Psychiatry Service; Faculty of Medicine, Department of Neurosciences, University of the Basque Country UPV / EHU, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain.

Background: Lithium is considered the gold standard treatment for bipolar disorder (BD). Current clinical guidelines and scientific evidence support its use as a first-line treatment in BD. However, over the last two decades, there has been a downward tendency in lithium's use in several developed countries. Based on a nationwide survey, this study's objective is to analyze in a large sample of psychiatrists relevant issues of the use of lithium salts in BD.

Methods: Data were collected through an anonymous survey sent by email among 500 psychiatrists who belong to a National Society of Psychiatry (Spanish Society of Biological Psychiatry). The survey is a self-administered questionnaire consisting of 21 items on the most key aspects of lithium's use (indication, dosage, monitoring, and information for patients).

Results: 212 psychiatrists completed the survey. 70% of psychiatrists prescribe lithium to more than 50% of patients diagnosed with BD. Adverse effects are the main reason not to use lithium salts. Over 75% of the participants consider lithium salts the treatment of choice for the maintenance phase of BD, both in women and men. Most of the participants (> 50%) start lithium after the first affective episode, use conservative plasma concentrations (0.6-0.8 mmol/L), and generally prescribe it twice a day. 57% of psychiatrists who treat patients under 18 do not use lithium in this population. About 70% of the survey respondents use official protocols to inform and monitor patients on lithium treatment.

Conclusions: From the results of the present study, it can be concluded that the use of lithium in Spain is in line with the recommendations of the main international clinical guidelines and current scientific literature. The first reason not to prescribe lithium in our country is the perception of its adverse effects and not the aspects related to its practical use or its effectiveness. Considering that BD is a chronic disease with a typical onset in adolescence, the low rate of prescription of lithium salts in patients under 18 must be thoroughly studied.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40345-020-00215-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7941362PMC
March 2021

Patient and physician perspectives of a smartphone application for depression: a qualitative study.

BMC Psychiatry 2021 01 29;21(1):65. Epub 2021 Jan 29.

Department of Psychiatry, CHU Clermont-Ferrand, University of Clermont Auvergne, EA 7280, Clermont-Ferrand, France.

Background: Despite an increasing number of smartphone apps, such therapeutic tools have not yet consistently demonstrated their efficacy and many suffer from low retention rates. To ensure the development of efficient apps associated with high adherence, we aimed to identify, through a user-centred design approach, patient and physician expectations of a hypothetical app dedicated to depression.

Methods: We conducted semi-structured interviews with physicians (psychiatrists and general practitioners) and patients who had experienced a major depressive episode during the last 12 months using the focus group method. The interviews were audio recorded, transcribed and analysed using qualitative content analysis to define codes, categories and emergent themes.

Results: A total of 26 physicians and 24 patients were included in the study. The focus groups showed balanced sex and age distributions. Most participants owned a smartphone (83.3% of patients, 96.1% of physicians) and were app users (79.2% of patients and 96.1% of physicians). The qualitative content analysis revealed 3 main themes: content, operating characteristics and barriers to the use of the app. Expected content included the data collected by the app, aiming to provide information about the patient, data provided by the app, gathering psychoeducation elements, therapeutic tools and functionalities to help with the management of daily life and features expected for this tool. The "operating characteristics" theme gathered aims considered for the app, its potential target users, considered modalities of use and considerations around its accessibility and security of use. Finally, barriers to the use of the app included concerns about potential app users, its accessibility, safety, side-effects, utility and functioning. All themes and categories were the same for patients and physicians.

Conclusions: Physician and patient expectations of a hypothetical smartphone app dedicated to depression are high and confirmed the important role it could play in depression care. The key points expected by the users for such a tool are an easy and intuitive use and a personalised content. They are also waiting for an app that gives information about depression, offers a self-monitoring functionality and helps them in case of emergency.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12888-021-03064-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7847000PMC
January 2021

Does cognitive impairment in bipolar disorder impact on a SIMPLe app use?

J Affect Disord 2021 03 29;282:488-494. Epub 2020 Dec 29.

Bipolar and depressive disorders unit, Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Institute of Neuroscience, Hospital Clínic, University of Barcelona, IDIBAPS, CIBERSAM, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain; Centre for Affective Disorders, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King's College London, London, United Kingdom.

Background: Smartphone apps are becoming increasingly used by service users in mental health care and research for diverse aims. However, it is well-known the high prevalence of cognitive impairment in some people suffering from severe mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder (BD), which impacts on their psychosocial functioning and quality of life. In this context, the main aim of this paper is to investigate through exploratory analyses the role of specific cognitive deficits in the retention, engagement, and usability of a psychoeducational smartphone app in a group of patients with BD.

Methods: 51 remitted BD patients were asked to use the app for 3 months. Baseline and 3-months follow-up clinical and usability assessments were conducted. Twenty-seven independent results from a comprehensive neurocognitive test of the same participants were retrieved separately of the 2 years before or after the use of the app. Post-hoc exploratory analyses were carried out using Spearman correlations to identify significant cognitive deficits domains influencing the usability and retention with the app.

Results: There were no statistically significant cognitive variables associated with the use, reported usability or retention with the app. Some variables associated with executive functions, verbal and visual memory correlated significantly with previous use of smartphones.

Limitations: Post-hoc analysis with a limited sample size.

Conclusion: These preliminary results suggests that patients with BD and mild cognitive deficits do not present any limitation in using mental health apps. In our case, the adoption of a user-centred design in the development process of the app could have mitigated the participants' difficulties when using the app.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2020.12.168DOI Listing
March 2021

Changing trends in psychiatric emergency service admissions during the COVID-19 outbreak: Report from a worldwide epicentre.

J Affect Disord 2021 03 27;282:26-32. Epub 2020 Dec 27.

Bipolar and Depressive Disorders Unit, Institute of Neuroscience, Hospital Clínic, University of Barcelona, IDIBAPS, CIBERSAM, 170 Villarroel st, 12-0, 08036 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. Electronic address:

Background: During the COVID-19 pandemic, a structural reorganization was imposed on public health systems. Psychiatry services were also affected with the imposed reduction of non-urgent consultations. We aim to explore the effect of these changes on a Psychiatry Emergency Service during COVID-19 lockdown in Spain.

Methods: A retrospective analysis was performed on all patients admitted to our Psychiatric Emergency Service 90 days before and after March 14, 2020, the first day of lockdown in Spain. Extracted data were compared between the two periods. Poisson regression analysis was performed to analyze changes in admission rates.

Results: 1,958 psychiatric emergency admissions were analyzed. Although the number of admissions decreased by 37.9%, we observed a significant increase in the percentage of acute psychiatric hospitalization during the lockdown. Anxiety spectrum disorders accumulated the greatest significant decrease in admission rates during the lockdown. On the other hand, a significant increase in admissions rates was found in patients with dementia, autism spectrum disorders, and substance use disorders during the lockdown.

Limitations: This study was conducted in a single psychiatric emergency service, preventing a generalization of our results. The comparison time period might have biased our results due to the influence of external factors.

Conclusion: Mental health consequences of COVID-19 are becoming apparent. A reduction of admission rates for anxiety disorders might be related telepsychiatry implementation during the lockdown. Other conditions particularly vulnerable to the routine changes and lack of social support have suffered the most, and efforts should be placed to treat these situations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2020.12.057DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7765763PMC
March 2021

Long-term treatment of bipolar disorder type I: A systematic and critical review of clinical guidelines with derived practice algorithms.

Bipolar Disord 2021 06 7;23(4):324-340. Epub 2021 Jan 7.

Bipolar and Depressive Disorders Unit, Hospital Clinic, University of Barcelona, Institute of Neuroscience, IDIBAPS, CIBERSAM, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

Objectives: This systematic review aimed at providing a critical, comprehensive synthesis of international guidelines' recommendations on the long-term treatment of bipolar disorder type I (BD-I).

Methods: MEDLINE/PubMed and EMBASE databases were searched from inception to January 15th, 2019 following PRISMA and PICAR rules. International guidelines providing recommendations for the long-term treatment of BD-I were included. A methodological quality assessment was conducted with the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation-AGREE II.

Results: The final selection yielded five international guidelines, with overall good quality. The evaluation of applicability was the weakest aspect across the guidelines. Differences in their updating strategies and the rating of the evidence, particularly for meta-analyses, randomized clinical trials (RCTs) and observational studies, could be responsible of some level of heterogeneity among recommendations. Nonetheless, the guidelines recommended lithium as the 'gold standard' in the long-term treatment of BD-I. Quetiapine was another possible first-line option as well as aripiprazole (for the prevention of mania). Long-term treatment should contemplate monotherapy, at least initially. Clinicians should check regularly for efficacy and side effects and if necessary, switch to first-line alternatives (i.e. Valproate), combine first-line compounds with different mechanisms of action or switch to second-line options or combinations.

Conclusions: The possibility to monitor improvements in long-term outcomes, namely relapse prevention and inter-episode subthreshold depressive symptoms, based on the application of their recommendations is an unmet need of clinical guidelines. In terms of evidence of clinical guidelines, there is a need for more efficacious treatment strategies for the prevention of bipolar depression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bdi.13040DOI Listing
June 2021

Commentary on: "Make lithium great again!"

Bipolar Disord 2021 02 30;23(1):90-91. Epub 2020 Sep 30.

Bipolar and Depressive Disorders Unit, Institute of Neuroscience, Hospital Clinic, University of Barcelona, IDIBAPS, CIBERSAM, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bdi.12998DOI Listing
February 2021

Commentary on: "Make lithium great again!"

Bipolar Disord 2021 02 30;23(1):90-91. Epub 2020 Sep 30.

Bipolar and Depressive Disorders Unit, Institute of Neuroscience, Hospital Clinic, University of Barcelona, IDIBAPS, CIBERSAM, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bdi.12998DOI Listing
February 2021

A prospective longitudinal study searching for predictors of response to group psychoeducation in bipolar disorder.

J Affect Disord 2020 09 28;274:1113-1121. Epub 2020 Feb 28.

Mental Health Research Group, IMIM-Parc de Salut Mar, CIBERSAM, Auotonomous University of Barcelona (Department of Clinical and Health Psychology), Office 202, PRBB Building, Charles Darwin Sq. (SN) 08003, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. Electronic address:

Background: The efficacy of adjunctive group psychoeducation in bipolar disorder has been proven although treatment response differ among individuals. The aim of this study was to characterize responders and non-responders to group psychoeducation in order to identify baseline variables that could predict treatment response.

Methods: The sample was composed of 103 medicated euthymic patients with bipolar disorder referred to 21 sessions of group psychoeducation (6 months). Sociodemographic and clinical variables, temperament, circadian rhythms, BDNF, cognitive and psychosocial functioning were collected. At the 18-month endpoint, the patients were split in two groups on the basis of having suffered any recurrence. Significant group differences were included in a logistic regression analysis.

Results: Ninety patients out of 103 engaged in group psychoeducation, 47 of whom (52.2%) responded to psychoeducation and 43 (47.8%) did not. Recurrences occurred more often in the follow-up, the most common being depression. Responders and non-responders differed in gender, age at diagnosis, latency of diagnosis, temperament, attention composite score and BDNF. Lower age at diagnosis of bipolar disorder, lower cyclothimic temperament scores and being male -which was associated with bipolar type I and a trend to more previous manic episodes- were significantly related to a better response to psychoeducation in the regression analysis.

Limitations: No control group.

Conclusions: This study identifies age at diagnosis as a significant modifiable risk factor of treatment response, highlighting the need for early identification of bipolar disorder. Existing programs should be adjusted to the characteristics of specific subpopulations in the framework of a personalized approach.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2020.02.047DOI Listing
September 2020

Coping behaviors associated with decreased anxiety and depressive symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.

J Affect Disord 2020 10 2;275:80-81. Epub 2020 Jul 2.

Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), CIBERSAM, Barcelona, Spain; Early Psychosis: Interventions and Clinical-detection (EPIC) Laboratory, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, London, UK; Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Centre for Psychiatric Research and Education, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. Electronic address:

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown might increase anxiety and depressive symptoms, but some behaviors may protect against them.

Method: To provide a preliminary evidence of the behaviors associated with decreased symptoms in the current COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, we conducted a survey of 5545 adult individuals from the Spanish general population, two weeks after an official lockdown was established across the country.

Results: Sixty-five percent of the sample reported anxiety or depressive symptoms. Following a healthy/balanced diet and not reading news/updates about COVID-19 very often were the best predictors of lower levels of anxiety symptoms. Following a healthy/balanced diet, following a routine, not reading news/updates about COVID-19 very often, taking the opportunity to pursue hobbies, and staying outdoors or looking outside were the best predictors of lower levels of depressive symptoms.

Limitations: Cross-sectional nature and use of sample of convenience.

Conclusions: This study suggests that "simple" coping behaviors may protect against anxiety and depressive symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2020.06.027DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7329680PMC
October 2020

Effects of an integrative approach to bipolar disorders combining psychoeducation, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and functional remediation: Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial.

Rev Psiquiatr Salud Ment (Engl Ed) 2020 Jul - Sep;13(3):165-173. Epub 2020 Jul 7.

Barcelona Bipolar Disorders and Depressive Unit, Institute of Neurosciences, University of Barcelona, IDIBAPS, CIBERSAM, Hospital Clínic of Barcelona, Villarroel, 170, 08036 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

Introduction: Bipolar disorder is related to a high level of personal, familial, social and economic burden. There is a need for feasible adjunctive psychological interventions easy to implement in clinical practice in order to enhance aspects that medication alone cannot achieve. This study aims to evaluate the impact of a 12-session adjunctive integrative program designed for patients with bipolar disorder.

Methods: This is a single-blind prospective, randomized controlled trial involving a total of 132 outpatients with bipolar disorder who will be recruited from the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona. All participants will be randomly assigned to two arms. All the patients will receive treatment as usual (TAU) but in addition the experimental group will receive an integrative approach consisting of 12-sessions of 90min each in which contents of psychoeducation for patients have been combined with a session for family members, and complemented with aspects related to health promotion, mindfulness training, and strategies for cognitive and functional enhancement. The whole sample will be assessed at baseline, after completion (3-months) and at 12 months from baseline regarding demographic and clinical variables, psychosocial and cognitive functioning, wellbeing and quality of life. The primary outcome measure will be improvement in psychosocial functioning.

Conclusions: If the integrative approach is effective, it would allow clinicians to cover different areas that may be affected by bipolar disorder, by means of a brief intervention that can therefore be easily generalized to clinical practice.

Trial Registration: NCT04031560. Date registered July 24, 2019.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rpsm.2020.05.005DOI Listing
July 2020

Mobile Health Projects in a High-Complexity Reference Hospital: Case Study.

JMIR Mhealth Uhealth 2020 01 31;8(1):e16247. Epub 2020 Jan 31.

Hospital Clinic de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

Background: The widespread adoption of mobile and wearable devices and apps makes it essential to assess their possible impact on the management of health and diseases. Health care providers (HCPs) find themselves faced with a new situation in their setting with the proliferation of mobile health (mHealth) intervention tests. Few studies have addressed the development of mHealth and the methodologies to manage these apps in a tertiary hospital.

Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the mHealth projects implemented in the Hospital Clínic of Barcelona to increase awareness of the context in which they are used and to develop policies for the development of good practice in mHealth innovation.

Methods: A prospective, descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted in a highly specialized university hospital with 850 beds for adults and a reference population of 520,000 inhabitants. A specific questionnaire was developed based on the Mobile Health 5 Dimensions European (MOHE 5D-EU) theoretical model to find mHealth projects. Apps, telemedicine, and wearable devices were included in the systematic search. For that purpose, a vertical (top-down) email-based snowball process was conducted. Data were collected from February to December 2018 by conducting personal interviews with HCPs using a structured questionnaire.

Results: During the study period, 45 interviews were conducted; 35 mHealth initiatives were found, with 25 targeted to patients and 10 to health professionals. Most mHealth initiatives (34/35, 97%) were related to the software field (apps and telemedicine initiatives), and one was related to wearable devices. Among the projects, 68% (24/35) were classified as medical devices or developments at the edge (developments susceptible to limitations depending on the intended use). In relation to data protection, 27 initiatives managing personal data (27/35, 77%) considered data protection legislation. Only 9% (3/35) of the initiatives had foreseen the use of interconnectivity standards. Most of the initiatives were funded by grants (14/35, 40%), sponsorships (5/35, 14%), or the hospital itself (5/35, 14%). In terms of clinical management, most projects were developed in the field of research, followed by professional tools, clinical information, and therapeutic education. Only 6 projects were involved with health care; all were led by either the industry or small and medium enterprises.

Conclusions: This study helped create the design of a map of the mHealth projects conducted in our hospital that showed the stages of development of the different ongoing projects. This will allow monitoring of mHealth projects and construction of tools to reinforce areas with detected deficiencies. Our theoretical approach using a modified MOHE 5D-EU model was found to be useful for analyzing the characteristics of mHealth projects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/16247DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7055769PMC
January 2020

mHealth in affective disorders: hype or hope? A focused narrative review.

Int Clin Psychopharmacol 2020 03;35(2):61-68

Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, Neuroscience Institute, IDIBAPS, CIBERSAM, Catalonia, Spain.

The constant growth and widespread availability of mobile technologies (i.e. smartphones and wearables) over the last decades have been a subject of intense interest and research in the affective disorders (AD) field. The potential of mHealth for collecting a new kind of passive and active information while providing cost-effective and tailored interventions have raised many hopes. However, until now, despite some encouraging results, research in the field has not been translated to reach real-world clinical settings or to develop additional evidence-based mHealth tools for people suffering from AD. Meanwhile, commercial untested apps and wearables are already being increasingly used and adopted by patients for the self-management of their illnesses. Hence, there is a latent need and demand from service users to integrate mHealth in their care, which the field cannot yet fulfil. In this article, through a focused narrative review, we discuss the evidence available for the use, validity and efficacy of mHealth tools in AD. Challenges in the academic field hampering the advancement of these technologies and its implementation into clinical practice are discussed. Lastly, we propose a framework to overcome these issues, which may facilitate mHealth solutions reaching service users.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/YIC.0000000000000302DOI Listing
March 2020

Prospective cohort study of early biosignatures of response to lithium in bipolar-I-disorders: overview of the H2020-funded R-LiNK initiative.

Int J Bipolar Disord 2019 Sep 25;7(1):20. Epub 2019 Sep 25.

Copenhagen Affective Disorder Research Center (CADIC), Psychiatric Center Copenhagen, University Hospital of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Background: Lithium is recommended as a first line treatment for bipolar disorders. However, only 30% of patients show an optimal outcome and variability in lithium response and tolerability is poorly understood. It remains difficult for clinicians to reliably predict which patients will benefit without recourse to a lengthy treatment trial. Greater precision in the early identification of individuals who are likely to respond to lithium is a significant unmet clinical need.

Structure: The H2020-funded Response to Lithium Network (R-LiNK; http://www.r-link.eu.com/ ) will undertake a prospective cohort study of over 300 individuals with bipolar-I-disorder who have agreed to commence a trial of lithium treatment following a recommendation by their treating clinician. The study aims to examine the early prediction of lithium response, non-response and tolerability by combining systematic clinical syndrome subtyping with examination of multi-modal biomarkers (or biosignatures), including omics, neuroimaging, and actigraphy, etc. Individuals will be followed up for 24 months and an independent panel will assess and classify each participants' response to lithium according to predefined criteria that consider evidence of relapse, recurrence, remission, changes in illness activity or treatment failure (e.g. stopping lithium; new prescriptions of other mood stabilizers) and exposure to lithium. Novel elements of this study include the recruitment of a large, multinational, clinically representative sample specifically for the purpose of studying candidate biomarkers and biosignatures; the application of lithium-7 magnetic resonance imaging to explore the distribution of lithium in the brain; development of a digital phenotype (using actigraphy and ecological momentary assessment) to monitor daily variability in symptoms; and economic modelling of the cost-effectiveness of introducing biomarker tests for the customisation of lithium treatment into clinical practice. Also, study participants with sub-optimal medication adherence will be offered brief interventions (which can be delivered via a clinician or smartphone app) to enhance treatment engagement and to minimize confounding of lithium non-response with non-adherence.

Conclusions: The paper outlines the rationale, design and methodology of the first study being undertaken by the newly established R-LiNK collaboration and describes how the project may help to refine the clinical response phenotype and could translate into the personalization of lithium treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40345-019-0156-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6760458PMC
September 2019

Pharmacotherapy for the peripartum management of bipolar disorder.

Expert Opin Pharmacother 2019 Oct 10;20(14):1731-1741. Epub 2019 Jun 10.

Fondation FondaMental , Créteil , France.

: The peripartum period in bipolar disorder (BD) patients is associated with high risk of relapse. Relapse during this period may affect fetal and child development. The consequences of psychotropic medication during pregnancy are also a major concern. The extent to which mood stabilizers may potentially affect the embryogenesis or the child development varies from high (e.g. valproate) to less clear and more debated (e.g. lithium). : This review describes the current state of evidence with respect to the impact of recommended pharmacological interventions for BD during the peripartum period. It compares recent international treatment guidelines for the management of BD during the peripartum period. Last, this review presents a summary of key recommendations for BD women of childbearing age, for BD women during pregnancy and postpartum period from the international guidelines. : Management of the pharmacological treatment for BD patients during the perinatal period is challenging. Although treatment guidelines may be of significant help, high heterogeneity exists across them. Shared decision-making represents a useful patient-centered approach during the perinatal period. Large cohort studies are needed to better identify risk associated to treatment discontinuation or treatment exposure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14656566.2019.1626826DOI Listing
October 2019

Treatment-resistant and multi-therapy-resistant criteria for bipolar depression: consensus definition.

Br J Psychiatry 2019 01 6;214(1):27-35. Epub 2018 Dec 6.

Clinical Senior Lecturer in Mood Disorders and Consultant Psychiatrist,National Affective Disorders Service; Academic Psychiatry Training Programme Lead,Institute of Psychiatry,Psychology and Neuroscience,King's College London,South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM); andCRN South London Lead for Mental Health,Centre for Affective Disorders, Institute of Psychiatry,Psychology and Neuroscience,King's College London,South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM),UK.

Background: Most people with bipolar disorder spend a significant percentage of their lifetime experiencing either subsyndromal depressive symptoms or major depressive episodes, which contribute greatly to the high levels of disability and mortality associated with the disorder. Despite the importance of bipolar depression, there are only a small number of recognised treatment options available. Consecutive treatment failures can quickly exhaust these options leading to treatment-resistant bipolar depression (TRBD). Remarkably few studies have evaluated TRBD and those available lack a comprehensive definition of multi-therapy-resistant bipolar depression (MTRBD).AimsTo reach consensus regarding threshold definitions criteria for TRBD and MTRBD.

Method: Based on the evidence of standard treatments available in the latest bipolar disorder treatment guidelines, TRBD and MTRBD criteria were agreed by a representative panel of bipolar disorder experts using a modified Delphi method.

Results: TRBD criteria in bipolar depression was defined as failure to reach sustained symptomatic remission for 8 consecutive weeks after two different treatment trials, at adequate therapeutic doses, with at least two recommended monotherapy treatments or at least one monotherapy treatment and another combination treatment. MTRBD included the same initial definition as TRBD, with the addition of failure of at least one trial with an antidepressant, a psychological treatment and a course of electroconvulsive therapy.

Conclusions: The proposed TRBD and MTRBD criteria may provide an important signpost to help clinicians, researchers and stakeholders in judging how and when to consider new non-standard treatments. However, some challenging diagnostic and therapeutic issues were identified in the consensus process that need further evaluation and research.Declaration of interestIn the past 3 years, M.B. has received grant/research support from the NIH, Cooperative Research Centre, Simons Autism Foundation, Cancer Council of Victoria, Stanley Medical Research Foundation, MBF, NHMRC, Beyond Blue, Rotary Health, Geelong Medical Research Foundation, Bristol Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, Glaxo SmithKline, Meat and Livestock Board, Organon, Novartis, Mayne Pharma, Servier, Woolworths, Avant and the Harry Windsor Foundation, has been a speaker for Astra Zeneca, Bristol Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, Glaxo SmithKline, Janssen Cilag, Lundbeck, Merck, Pfizer, Sanofi Synthelabo, Servier, Solvay and Wyeth and served as a consultant to Allergan, Astra Zeneca, Bioadvantex, Bionomics, Collaborative Medicinal Development, Eli Lilly, Grunbiotics, Glaxo SmithKline, Janssen Cilag, LivaNova, Lundbeck, Merck, Mylan, Otsuka, Pfizer and Servier. A.C. has received fees for lecturing from pharmaceutical companies namely Lundbeck and Sunovion. A.J.C. has in the past 3 years received honoraria for speaking from Astra Zeneca and Lundbeck, honoraria for consulting from Allergan, Janssen, Lundbeck and LivaNova and research grant support from Lundbeck. G.M.G. holds shares in P1Vital and has served as consultant, advisor or CME speaker for Allergan, Angelini, Compass pathways, MSD, Lundbeck, Otsuka, Takeda, Medscape, Minervra, P1Vital, Pfizer, Servier, Shire and Sun Pharma. J.G. has received research funding from National Institute for Health Research, Medical Research Council, Stanley Medical Research Institute and Wellcome. H.G. received grants/research support, consulting fees or honoraria from Gedeon Richter, Genericon, Janssen Cilag, Lundbeck, Otsuka, Pfizer and Servier. R.H.M.-W. has received support for research, expenses to attend conferences and fees for lecturing and consultancy work (including attending advisory boards) from various pharmaceutical companies including Astra Zeneca, Cyberonics, Eli Lilly, Janssen, Liva Nova, Lundbeck, MyTomorrows, Otsuka, Pfizer, Roche, Servier, SPIMACO and Sunovion. R.M. has received research support from Big White Wall, Electromedical Products, Johnson and Johnson, Magstim and P1Vital. S.N. received honoraria from Lundbeck, Jensen and Otsuka. J.C.S. has received funds for research from Alkermes, Pfizer, Allergan, J&J, BMS and been a speaker or consultant for Astellas, Abbott, Sunovion, Sanofi. S.W has, within the past 3 years, attended advisory boards for Sunovion and LivaNova and has undertaken paid lectures for Lundbeck. D.J.S. has received honoraria from Lundbeck. T.S. has reported grants from Pathway Genomics, Stanley Medical Research Institute and Palo Alto Health Sciences; consulting fees from Sunovion Pharamaceuticals Inc.; honoraria from Medscape Education, Global Medical Education and CMEology; and royalties from Jones and Bartlett, UpToDate and Hogrefe Publishing. S.P. has served as a consultant or speaker for Janssen, and Sunovion. P.T. has received consultancy fees as an advisory board member from the following companies: Galen Limited, Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Europe Ltd, myTomorrows and LivaNova. E.V. received grants/ research support, consulting fees or honoraria from Abbott, AB-Biotics, Allergan, Angelini, Dainippon Sumitomo, Ferrer, Gedeon Richter, Janssen, Lundbeck, Otsuka and Sunovion. L.N.Y. has received grants/research support, consulting fees or honoraria from Allergan, Alkermes, Dainippon Sumitomo, Janssen, Lundbeck, Otsuka, Sanofi, Servier, Sunovion, Teva and Valeant. A.H.Y. has undertaken paid lectures and advisory boards for all major pharmaceutical companies with drugs used in affective and related disorders and LivaNova. He has also previously received funding for investigator-initiated studies from AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Lundbeck and Wyeth. P.R.A.S. has received research funding support from Corcept Therapeutics Inc. Corcept Therapeutics Inc fully funded attendance at their internal conference in California USA and all related expenses. He has received grant funding from the Medical Research Council UK for a collaborative study with Janssen Research and Development LLC. Janssen Research and Development LLC are providing non-financial contributions to support this study. P.R.A.S. has received a presentation fee from Indivior and an advisory board fee from LivaNova.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1192/bjp.2018.257DOI Listing
January 2019

Psychiatry foretold.

Aust N Z J Psychiatry 2019 04 4;53(4):365-366. Epub 2018 Dec 4.

2 Centre for Affective Disorders, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King's College London, London, UK.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0004867418816821DOI Listing
April 2019

A new inner-city specialist programme reduces readmission rates in frequently admitted patients with bipolar disorder.

BJPsych Bull 2019 Apr 28;43(2):58-60. Epub 2018 Nov 28.

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust,UK.

Aims and methodThe OPTIMA mood disorders service is a newly established specialist programme for people with bipolar disorder requiring frequent admissions. This audit compared data on hospital admissions and home treatment team (HTT) spells in patients before entry to and after discharge from the core programme. We included patients admitted between April 2015 and March 2017 who were subsequently discharged. Basic demographic data and numbers of admissions and HTT spells three years before and after discharge were collected and analysed. RESULTS: Thirty patients who completed the programme were included in the analyses. The median monthly rate of hospital admissions after OPTIMA was significantly reduced compared with the rate prior to the programme. HTT utilisation was numerically reduced, but this difference was not statistically significant.Clinical implicationsThese results highlight the effectiveness and importance of individually tailored, specialist care for patients with bipolar disorder following discharge from hospital.Declaration of interestNone.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1192/bjb.2018.89DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6472318PMC
April 2019

Internet use by older adults with bipolar disorder: international survey results.

Int J Bipolar Disord 2018 Sep 4;6(1):20. Epub 2018 Sep 4.

Mood Disorders Center of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada.

Background: The world population is aging and the number of older adults with bipolar disorder is increasing. Digital technologies are viewed as a framework to improve care of older adults with bipolar disorder. This analysis quantifies Internet use by older adults with bipolar disorder as part of a larger survey project about information seeking.

Methods: A paper-based survey about information seeking by patients with bipolar disorder was developed and translated into 12 languages. The survey was anonymous and completed between March 2014 and January 2016 by 1222 patients in 17 countries. All patients were diagnosed by a psychiatrist. General estimating equations were used to account for correlated data.

Results: Overall, 47% of older adults (age 60 years or older) used the Internet versus 87% of younger adults (less than 60 years). More education and having symptoms that interfered with regular activities increased the odds of using the Internet, while being age 60 years or older decreased the odds. Data from 187 older adults and 1021 younger adults were included in the analysis excluding missing values.

Conclusions: Older adults with bipolar disorder use the Internet much less frequently than younger adults. Many older adults do not use the Internet, and technology tools are suitable for some but not all older adults. As more health services are only available online, and more digital tools are developed, there is concern about growing health disparities based on age. Mental health experts should participate in determining the appropriate role for digital tools for older adults with bipolar disorder.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40345-018-0127-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6161969PMC
September 2018

OpenSIMPLe: A real-world implementation feasibility study of a smartphone-based psychoeducation programme for bipolar disorder.

J Affect Disord 2018 12 14;241:436-445. Epub 2018 Aug 14.

Mental Health Group, IMIM (Institut Hospital del Mar d'Investigacions Mèdiques)-Hospital del Mar,CIBERSAM, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

Background: Few evidence-based mental health apps are widely available to patients and, conversely, many of the available apps have not been appropriately evaluated. Given that the ultimate goal is to scale-up and open internet-based platforms (IBP), it is crucial to appropriately evaluate their real-world feasibility beforehand. We aimed to evaluate the implementation feasibility of a smartphone-based psychoeducational programme for bipolar disorder, exploring its long-term retention, usability, perceived helpfulness and satisfaction, alongside its impact on secondary health outcomes.

Methods: Participants were recruited via the project website after completing an online screening questionnaire. They were requested to complete web-based questionnaires before using the app and after 6 months of use which included sociodemographic, illness and treatment variables, the world health organisation-five well-being index (WHO-5) and the short form health survey (SF-36). The follow-up questionnaires also contained satisfaction and usefulness questions.

Results: 201 participants took part in the study. According to their retention, 66.2% of the participants were classified as noncompleters and 33.8% as completers. The only predictor significantly associated with higher odds of retention was older age (OR = 1.021, p < 0.001). 62% of the users reported they were satisfied with the programme with a higher percentage among completers. Who-5 baseline and follow-up scores showed a significant improvement as well as 6 out of 8 domains of the SF-36.

Limitations: Screening and outcome measures were administered using exclusively self-reported online methods.

Conclusion: The 6-month attrition rate of the programme was high. Positive outcomes regarding satisfaction were found predominantly among completers. The optimal dosage and retention of IBP mental health programmes remain challenging issues that need further research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2018.08.048DOI Listing
December 2018

Behavioural biomarkers and mobile mental health: a new paradigm.

Int J Bipolar Disord 2018 May 6;6(1). Epub 2018 May 6.

Mental Health Group, IMIM-Hospital del Mar, Dr. Aiguader 88, 08003, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

Over recent decades, the field of psychiatry has allocated a vast amount of resources and efforts to make available more accurate and objective methods to diagnose, assess and monitor treatment outcomes in psychiatric disorders. Despite the optimism and some significant progress in biological markers, it has become increasingly evident that they are failing to meet initial expectations due to their lack of specificity, inconsistent reliability and limited availability. On the other hand, there is an increasingly emerging evidence of mobile technologies' feasibility to measure mental illness activity. Moreover, taking into account its widespread use, availability and potential to capture behavioural markers, mobile-connected technologies could be strong candidates to fill and complement-at least at some degree-the gaps that biological markers couldn't. This represents an especially interesting opportunity to reform our current diagnostic system using a bottom-up research methodology based on digital and biological markers data instead of the classical traditional top-down approach. Therefore, the field might benefit of further exploring this promising -and increasingly evidence-based- pathway as well as other auspicious alternatives in order to attain a more holistic and integrative approach in research, which could ultimately impact real-world clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40345-018-0119-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6161977PMC
May 2018

Is lithium monitoring NICE? Lithium monitoring in a UK secondary care setting.

J Psychopharmacol 2018 04 19;32(4):408-415. Epub 2018 Mar 19.

1 Centre for Affective Disorders, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King's College London, UK.

Background: Lithium is widely used for the treatment of bipolar disorder. Owing to its narrow therapeutic index and side-effect profile, regular monitoring of serum levels, renal and thyroid function has been recommended by all major guidelines on lithium use.

Objectives: We investigated whether lithium monitoring during maintenance phase treatment in clinical practice meets the latest recommendation by the National Institute for Health and Clinical excellence (i.e. lithium levels between 0.6 and 1.0 mmol/L and lithium level, thyroid and renal function tests every 6 months) in one of the largest mental health organizations in Europe, the South London and Maudsley (SLaM) NHS Foundation Trust.

Methods: Retrospective data were extracted from SLaM's Clinical Record Interactive Search (CRIS) system. Adult patients with a psychiatric disorder who were on lithium at any point during the period January 2012-January 2016 and had at least one lithium level test result in the system were included in the analyses.

Results: A total of 2639 lithium level tests results were retrieved for 412 patients. Overall, the serum level was within the recommended range in 50.7% of all tests, below the range in 42.4% and above in 6.9%. Lithium level, renal and thyroid function tests were performed at the recommended frequency of 6 months (or less) in 76.2%, 72.7% and 60.2% of patients, respectively.

Conclusion: These data demonstrate that there is a gap between the NICE 2014 recommendation and lithium monitoring practice in secondary care, with a high number of lithium level results below the therapeutic minimum. Reminder strategies for secondary care practitioners, shared care agreements or a central registry for lithium users could improve monitoring performance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0269881118760663DOI Listing
April 2018

Developing digital interventions for people living with serious mental illness: perspectives from three mHealth studies.

Evid Based Ment Health 2017 Nov 12;20(4):98-101. Epub 2017 Oct 12.

Department of Psychosis Studies, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, London, UK.

The rapidly expanding field of mobile health (mHealth) seeks to harness increasingly affordable and ubiquitous mobile digital technologies including smartphones, tablets, apps and wearable devices to enhance clinical care. Accumulating evidence suggests that mHealth interventions are increasingly being adopted and valued by people living with serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, as a means of better understanding and managing their condition. We draw on experiences from three geographically and methodologically distinct mHealth studies to provide a pragmatic overview of the key challenges and considerations relating to the process of developing digital interventions for this population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/eb-2017-102765DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5750413PMC
November 2017
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