Neurocognitive correlates of response to treatment in late-life depression.

Published on Sep 1, 2008in American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry4.105
· DOI :10.1097/JGP.0B013E31817E739A
Tyler J. Story3
Estimated H-index: 3
(Duke University),
Guy G. Potter41
Estimated H-index: 41
(Duke University)
+ 2 AuthorsDavid C. Steffens97
Estimated H-index: 97
(Duke University)
Depression is often associated with neurocognitive deficits in older adults, particularly in the domains of information processing speed, episodic memory, and executive functions. Greater neurocognitive dysfunction while depressed is associated with a less effective treatment response; however, questions remain about the specific variables that characterize patients showing low treatment response and persistent cognitive deficiencies. Objectives The authors examined neurocognitive variables that differentiated patients who showed robust versus weak responses to antidepressant therapy. Participants The baseline sample included 110 women and 67 men, with a mean age of 69.1 years (SD = 6.9) and mean education of 14 years (SD = 3.3). Design Patients enrolled in a treatment study completed both a structured diagnostic assessment for depression and neuropsychological testing at study entry and 1-year follow-up. Measurements Clinicians rated patient depression using the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale. Neuropsychological assessments consisted of prose recall and percent retention (Wechsler Memory Scale -III Logical Memory), word-list recall, attention and visuomotor processing speed (Trail Making A, Symbol Digit Modalities Test), and mental flexibility (Trail Making B). Interventions Patients underwent treatment for depression following the guidelines of the Duke Somatic Treatment Algorithm for Geriatric Depression approach. Results Individuals who demonstrated the greatest improvement in mood symptoms at follow-up exhibited better prose recall and faster processing speed at baseline than individuals who demonstrated weaker treatment responses. These differences remained after controlling for depression severity at both time-points. Conclusion The current results suggest that better pretreatment cognitive function, particularly in verbal memory, is associated with a greater treatment response in late-life depression.
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