Heart rate variability (HRV) and psychomotor activity have been found reduced in bipolar disorder (BD) but has never been investigated in newly diagnosed BD and unaffected relatives. The present study aimed to compare HRV and psychomotor activity between newly diagnosed patients with BD, their unaffected first-degree relatives (UR), and healthy control individuals (HC).
20 newly diagnosed patients with BD, 20 of their UR, and 20 age- and sex-matched HC were included. Measurements of HRV for five minutes and heart rate and acceleration for seven days were conducted. Activity energy expenditure (AEE) was derived from the latter. Linear mixed effect regression models were conducted to compare the three groups.
HRV did not differ in any measure between the three groups of participants. Similarly, AEE (kJ/day/kg) did not differ between the three groups in neither daily means (BD: 63.6, UR: 64.1, HC: 62.1) nor when divided into quarter-daily intervals.
The relatively small size of the study may affect the validity of the results.
Patients with newly diagnosed BD and UR do not present with decreased HRV or AEE. These results contrast prior findings from BD patients with more advanced stages of the disorder, suggesting that these outcomes progress with illness duration.