NPF-Funded Research

Smartphone Delivered Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Adults with Psoriasis and Comorbid Depression Symptoms

Megan Noe

Principal Investigator: Megan Noe, M.D., MPH, MSCE
Brigham and Women's Hospital, Inc.

Grant Mechanism: More Than Skin Deep: Mental Health
Funding Amount: $100,000
Project Start Date: August 1, 2023
Project End Date: July 31, 2024
Status: Active
Keywords: Comorbidity, Clinical Research, Mental Health, Patient-Reported Outcomes, Comorbidity, Clinical Research

Project Summary:

Many people with psoriasis also experience symptoms of depression. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a proven treatment for depression that focuses on changing one's thinking patterns and behaviors. The purpose of this pilot study is to investigate if adults with psoriasis and depression symptoms find a smartphone­-based CBT program to be acceptable and practical to use. All study participants will be given access to a smartphone-based CBT application and have periodic check­ins with a coach for 8 weeks. Participants will be sent weekly surveys to complete electronically. At the end of the study, participants will be asked to describe their experience using the app to the study team. The information learned in this study will help to design a larger study to explore the effectiveness of smartphone-based CBT to improve the symptoms of depression and psoriasis.

How will your project help improve the lives of the 125 million affected by psoriatic disease?

Depression is common and undertreated among the 7.5 million adults living with psoriasis. This is highlighted by the most recent joint American Academy of Dermatology-National Psoriasis Foundation guidelines of care for psoriasis that state "Addressing mental health is an essential component of comprehensive care for psoriatic patients". Unfortunately, there are many obstacles for patients with psoriatic disease to receive treatment for depression. The purpose of this study is to investigate if adults with psoriasis and depression symptoms find a smartphone-based CBT program to be acceptable and practical to use. If successful, smartphone­based CBT could be an accessible, low-cost, efficacious, and standardized intervention to address depression symptoms among patients with psoriatic disease that can feasibly be initiated by a dermatologist or primary care physician.

Why is psoriatic disease research important to you, personally? What role will this award play in your research efforts or career development?

Many of my patients are unable to access the mental health care services they need. The aims proposed in this application describe an innovative and scalable, high­impact solution to address depression among patients with psoriatic disease. Support from the National Psoriasis Foundation, through a "More Than Skin Deep" Mental Health Grant will allow our team to perform a pilot study that will provide the preliminary data and scientific premise necessary to apply for additional funding. Our goal is to perform a multi-center trial to fully examine the efficacy of smart-phone based CBT as an adjuvant treatment for psoriasis. Direct feedback from participants in this preliminary study will help to create a patient-centered approach to all future treatment strategies. It is important to me, in my practice, to not only treat my patients with highly effective psoriasis medications but also to address all other comorbidities of psoriasis, including depression.

Researcher Profile:

Megan H. Noe, M.D., MPH, MSCE, is an Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School where her research focuses on improving the overall care of patients with chronic inflammatory skin diseases. Dr. Noe graduated with research honors from Tufts University School of Medicine, earning both a medical degree and a master's degree in public health. She completed her dermatology training at the University of Iowa. After residency, she joined the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania where she was a post-doctoral research fellow in clinical epidemiology with Joel Gelfand, MD, MSCE, and completed the Masters of Science in Clinical Epidemiology program. She has received grant support from the National Psoriasis Foundation, the Dermatology Foundation and is a current recipient of a K23 Career Development Award from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Additionally, she has served as a co-investigator on multiple investigator-initiated clinical trials.

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