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Keywords:

  • mild cognitive impairment;
  • depression;
  • learning and memory;
  • cognition

Abstract

Objective

Depression is the most commonly reported psychiatric symptom in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). However, more research is needed examining the impact of depression on cognitive functioning in MCI patients. The purpose of this study was to examine differences in cognitive functioning in a sample of community- based, depressed, and non-depressed MCI patients.

Methods

One hundred and five participants with MCI were included in this study. Participants were recruited from Project FRONTIER, a study of rural health. Depression was assessed via the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-30), and cognition was measured using the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status.

Results

The results indicated that depressed MCI participants performed significantly worse than their non-depressed counterparts on several cognitive measures. MCI participants with depression scored significantly lower on immediate memory (t = 3.4, p < 0.01) and delayed memory (t = 2.8, p < 0.01) indices than their non-depressed counterparts.

Conclusions

The results of this study indicated that MCI participants with depression experienced greater deficits in cognitive functioning than their non-depressed counterparts. Depressed MCI participants exhibited greater deficits in both immediate and delayed memory. Thus, identifying and treating depression in individuals with MCI may improve memory and cognitive functioning. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.