Electronic monitoring in bipolar disorder.

Electronic monitoring in bipolar disorder.

Dan Med J. 2018 Mar;65(3):

Authors: Faurholt-Jepsen M

Abstract
Major reasons for the insufficient effects of current treatment options in bipolar disorder include delayed intervention for prodromal depressive and manic symptoms and decreased adherence to psychopharmacological treatment. The reliance on subjective information and clinical evaluations when diagnosing and assessing the severity of depressive and manic symptoms calls for less biased and more objective markers. By using electronic devices, fine-grained data on complex psychopathological aspects of bipolar disorder can be evaluated unobtrusively over the long term. Moreover, electronic data could possibly represent candidate markers of diagnosis and illness activity in bipolar disorder and allow for early and individualized intervention for prodromal symptoms outside clinical settings. 
The present dissertation concerns the use of electronic monitoring as a marker and treatment intervention in bipolar disorder and investigated the scientific literature and body of evidence within the area, which includes ten original study reports and two systematic reviews, one of which included a meta-analysis, conducted by the author of the dissertation. 
Taken together, the literature presented in this dissertation illustrates that 1) smartphone-based electronic self-monitoring of mood seems to reflect clinically assessed depressive and manic symptoms and enables the long-term characterization of mood

instability in bipolar disorder; 2) preliminary results suggest that smartphone-based automatically generated data (e.g. the number of text messages sent/day; the number of incoming and outgoing calls/day; the number of changes in cell tower IDs/day; and voice features) seem to reflect clinically assessed depressive and manic symptoms in bipolar disorder; 3) smartphone-based electronic self-monitoring had no effects on the severity of depressive and manic symptoms in bipolar disorder, according to a randomized controlled trial; and 4) electronic monitoring of psychomotor activity and heart rate variability seems to reflect illness activity in bipolar disorder and differentiate between patients with bipolar disorder and healthy control individuals. 
These findings point toward the usefulness of electronic monitoring as a marker of illness in bipolar disorder. Using electronic monitoring as a treatment intervention could provide innovative and novel interventions on-demand with a potential global reach, filling the gap between availability and the need for treatment. However, future studies using rigorous methodology and more randomized controlled trials that carefully investigate the positive effects and possible harmful effects of electronic monitoring in bipolar disorder are needed. In addition, patient safety, privacy issues, data security and legal aspects are major concerns that must be considered and addressed when using electronic monitoring.

PMID: 29510813 [PubMed - in process]