Personalizing behavioural medicine interventions through N-of-1 studies

Rute Vieira, Karina Davidson, Richard Kravitz, Ian Kronish

Research output: Contribution to journalAbstractpeer-review


All too often, conventional RCTs are not successful at identifying best behavioral medicine treatments as when patients are pooled together for analysis in RCTs, they fail to account for the potentially idiographic and dynamic processes that may influence the harms and benefits of treatments among individuals. Thus, we must look elsewhere for study designs that can better identify best treatments for individual patients. With recent advances in mobile health technology, N-of-1 (single patient) studies in which the individual patient serves as the unit of analysis represent promising, innovative approaches to solving this problem. This Symposium brings together individuals with expertise in N-of-1 methodologies who will share their experiences applying N-of-1 methods to answer questions in behavioral medicine. The first presentation uses data from recently conducted studies in the area of weight loss and physical activity to review key statistical approaches pertinent to N-of-1 observational and N-of-1 randomized trials. The second presentation presents data from an observational study aimed at determining the directionality of the association between stress and physical activity. Results indicate that unique insights can be obtained using N-of-1 methods, and these insights can be used to personalize behavioral health recommendations. The third presentation describes the methods and results from an ongoing, multicenter smartphone app-enabled N-of-1 trial for chronic musculoskeletal pain. Results indicate that the N-of-1 trial approach is feasible and helpful to patients. The Symposium ends with a discussion of the opportunities and challenges of incorporating N-of-1 studies into the practice of behavioral medicine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S137
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue numberSuppl. 1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventInternational Congress of Behavioral Medicine - Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 7 Dec 20167 Dec 2016


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