Cognitive Remediation in Bipolar (CRiB2): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial assessing efficacy and mechanisms of cognitive remediation therapy compared to treatment as usual

Dimosthenis Tsapekos*, Rebecca Strawbridge, Matteo Cella, Kimberley Goldsmith, Michail Kalfas, Rosie Taylor, Sam Swidzinski, Steven Marwaha, Libby Grey, Elizabeth Newton, Julie Shackleton, Paul J. Harrison, Michael D Browning, Catherine J. Harmer, Hannah Hartland, David A. Cousins, Stephen Barton, Til Wykes, Allan H. Young

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: A substantial proportion of people with bipolar disorder (BD) experience persistent cognitive difficulties associated with impairments in psychosocial functioning and a poorer disorder course. Emerging evidence suggests that cognitive remediation (CR), a psychological intervention with established efficacy in people with schizophrenia, can also benefit people with BD. Following a proof-of-concept trial showing that CR is feasible and potentially beneficial for people with BD, we are conducting an adequately powered trial in euthymic people with BD to 1) determine whether an individual, therapist-supported, computerised CR can reduce cognitive difficulties and improve functional outcomes; and 2) explore how CR exerts its effects.
Methods: CRiB2 is a two-arm, assessor-blind, multi-site, randomised controlled trial (RCT) comparing CR to treatment-as-usual (TAU). Participants are people with a diagnosis of BD, aged between 18 and 65, with no neurological or current substance use disorder, and currently euthymic. 250 participants will be recruited through primary, secondary, tertiary care, and the community. Participants will be block-randomised (1:1 ratio, stratified by site) to continue with their usual care (TAU) or receive a 12-week course of therapy and usual care (CR+TAU). The intervention comprises one-on-one CR sessions with a therapist supplemented with independent cognitive training for 30-40 hours in total. Outcomes will be assessed at 13- and 25-weeks post-randomisation. Efficacy will be examined by intention-to-treat analyses estimating between-group differences in primary (i.e., psychosocial functioning at week 25 measured with the Functional Assessment Short Test) and secondary outcomes (i.e., measures of cognition, mood, patient-defined goals, and quality of life). Global cognition, metacognitive skills, affect fluctuation, and salivary cortisol levels will be evaluated as putative mechanisms of CR through mediation models.
Discussion: This study will provide a robust evaluation of efficacy of CR in people with BD and examine the putative mechanisms by which this therapy works. The findings will contribute to determining the clinical utility of CR and potential mechanisms of action.
Trial registration: Cognitive Remediation in Bipolar 2 (CRiB2): ISRCTN registry: https://www.isrctn.com/ ISRCTN10362331. Registered 04 May 2022. Overall trial status: Ongoing; Recruitment status: Recruiting.
Original languageEnglish
Article number842
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Volume23
Issue number1
Early online date15 Nov 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Keywords

  • Bipolar disorder (BD)
  • Cognitive remediation (CR)
  • Efficacy
  • Mechanisms
  • Randomised controlled trial (RCT)
  • Trial protocol

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