Impact of Web-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia on Stress, Health, Mood, Cognitive, Inflammatory, and Neurodegenerative Outcomes in Rural Dementia Caregivers: Protocol for the NiteCAPP CARES and NiteCAPP SHARES Randomized Controlled Trial

Christina S. McCrae, Ashley F. Curtis, Amelia Cottle, David B. Beversdorf, Joel Shenker, Brian P. Mooney, Mihail Popescu, Marilyn Rantz, Maureen Groer, Phyllis Stein, Mojgan Golzy, Melanie A. Stearns, Angelynn Simenson, Neetu Nair, Meredeth A. Rowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Chronic insomnia affects up to 63% of family dementia caregivers. Research suggests that chronic insomnia prompts changes in central stress processing that have downstream negative effects on health and mood, as well as on cognitive, inflammatory, and neurodegenerative functioning. We hypothesize that cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) will reverse those downstream effects by improving insomnia and restoring healthy central stress processing. Rural caregivers are particularly vulnerable, but they have limited access to CBT-I; therefore, we developed an accessible digital version using community input (NiteCAPP CARES). Objective: This trial will evaluate the acceptability, feasibility, and short-term and long-term effects of NiteCAPP CARES on the sleep and stress mechanisms underlying poor caregiver health and functioning. Methods: Dyads (n=100) consisting of caregivers with chronic insomnia and their coresiding persons with dementia will be recruited from Columbia and surrounding areas in Missouri, United States. Participant dyads will be randomized to 4 weeks (plus 4 bimonthly booster sessions) of NiteCAPP CARES or a web-based sleep hygiene control (NiteCAPP SHARES). Participants will be assessed at baseline, after treatment, and 6- and 12-month follow-ups. The following assessments will be completed by caregivers: 1 week of actigraphy and daily diaries measuring sleep, Insomnia Severity Index, arousal (heart rate variability), inflammation (blood-derived biomarkers: interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein), neurodegeneration (blood-derived biomarkers: plasma amyloid beta [Aβ40 and Aβ42], total tau, and phosphorylated tau [p-tau181 and p-tau217]), cognition (Joggle battery, NIH Toolbox for Assessment of Neurological and Behavioral Function, and Cognitive Failures Questionnaire), stress and burden, health, and mood (depression and anxiety). Persons with dementia will complete 1 week of actigraphy at each time point. Results: Recruitment procedures started in February 2022. All data are expected to be collected by 2026. Full trial results are planned to be published by 2027. Secondary analyses of baseline data will be subsequently published. Conclusions: This randomized controlled trial tests NiteCAPP CARES, a web-based CBT-I for rural caregivers. The knowledge obtained will address not only what outcomes improve but also how and why they improve and for how long, which will help us to modify NiteCAPP CARES to optimize treatment potency and support future pragmatic testing and dissemination.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere37874
JournalJMIR Research Protocols
Volume11
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022

Keywords

  • CBT-I
  • caregiver
  • cognition
  • dementia
  • inflammation
  • insomnia
  • neurodegeneration

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