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To explore the correlations between observer ratings and instrumental parameters across domains of psychomotor functioning in depression.
In total, 73 patients with major depressive disorder underwent extensive psychomotor and clinical testing. Psychomotor functioning was assessed with (i) an observer-rated scale (the CORE measure) and also objectively with (ii) 24-h actigraphy, and (iii) a fine motor drawing task.
Observer ratings of retardation correlated with instrumental assessments of fine and gross motor functioning. In contrast, observer ratings of agitation did not correlate with observer ratings of retardation or with the instrumental measures. These associations were partly influenced by age and, to a lesser extent, by depression severity.
Psychomotor disturbance is a complex concept with different manifestations in depressed patients. Although observer ratings of retardation correspond well with instrumental measures of the motor domains, objective measurement of agitation and other aspects of psychomotor disturbance require further research.
According to a recent study, ratings on the Psychotic Depression Assessment Scale (PDAS) obtained via a dedicated semi-structured interview are valid measures of the severity of psychotic depression. This study aimed to further test the validity, scalability and responsiveness of the PDAS in older adults using independent ratings on the Clinical Global Impression Scale – Severity (CGI-S) and the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) as references.
Ratings were performed at admission and discharge at two old age psychiatric wards in Flanders, Belgium. In total, 62 older adults (mean age: 74.3 years) with psychotic depression were included. The PDAS was rated by trained nurses using the semi-structured PDAS interview. Senior psychiatrists scored the participants on the CGI-S. Psychologists or experienced nurses rated participants on the MADRS. Clinical validity was assessed by correlating the PDAS total scores with CGI-S ratings and MADRS total scores. Mokken analysis was performed to assess the scalability of the PDAS. Responsiveness was assessed by comparing the proportion of participants in remission (PDAS total score <8 at study baseline and endpoint).
The Spearman correlation coefficients were 0.76 and 0.79 for the PDAS versus CGI-S and PDAS versus MADRS, respectively. The Mokken analysis yielded a Loevinger coefficient of 0.46, which is indicative of scalability. At admission, no participants met the PDAS remission criterion. At discharge, 54% (95% confidence interval: 47%–60%) of the patients met this criterion.
The PDAS appears to be a clinically valid, scalable and responsive measure of the severity of psychotic depression in older adults.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is considered to be the most effective treatment in severe major depression. The identification of reliable predictors of ECT response could contribute to a more targeted patient selection and consequently increased ECT response rates.
To investigate the predictive value of age, depression severity, psychotic and melancholic features for ECT response and remission in major depression.
A meta-analysis was conducted according to the PRISMA statement. A literature search identified recent studies that reported on at least one of the potential predictors.
Of the 2193 articles screened, 34 have been included for meta-analysis. Presence of psychotic features is a predictor of ECT remission (odds ratio (OR) = 1.47, P = 0.001) and response (OR = 1.69, P < 0.001), as is older age (standardised mean difference (SMD) = 0.26 for remission and 0.35 for response (P < 0.001)). The severity of depression predicts response (SMD = 0.19, P = 0.001), but not remission. Data on melancholic symptoms were inconclusive.
ECT is particularly effective in patients with depression with psychotic features and in elderly people with depression. More research on both biological and clinical predictors is needed to further evaluate the position of ECT in treatment protocols for major depression.
Declaration of interest
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