Cognitive deficits in major depression



Major depression is a mood disorder that is often accompanied by the impairment of cognitive functions. Although suggestive, the large range of existing neuropsychological, neuropsychiatric, and, lately, neuroimaging investigations have not yet given a consistent picture of the psychological and biological disturbances involved in this psychiatric disorder. The present study of the cognitive functions in depression was part of an extensive investigation, including neuropsychological testing, psychiatric examination, and neuroimaging. A representative sample of 40 severely depressed hospitalized patients and a group of 49 closely matched control subjects were tested with an extensive neuropsychological test battery. Results, corrected for various confounding factors, confirmed the current notion that depressed patients suffer from wide–spread cognitive impairments. The group analysis did not allow any hypothesis on a possible pattern to the dysfunctions, but heterogeneity in the test performances calls for further analysis of the data in patient subgroups in relation to neuroimaging results.