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Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) in older adults is associated with
We examined neuropsychological functioning in older adults with GAD in
comparison with psychiatrically healthy older adults at baseline, and we
examined changes following a 12-week placebo-controlled trial of
A total of 160 participants without dementia aged ⩾60 with current GAD
and 37 individuals in a comparison group without psychiatric history
underwent neuropsychological assessment. Of these, 129 participants with
GAD were reassessed post-treatment (trial registration: NCT00105586).
The participants with GAD performed worse than the comparison group in
information processing speed, working memory, inhibition, problem-solving
(including concept formation and mental flexibility) and immediate and
delayed memory. Neuropsychological functioning was correlated with
everyday functioning. After treatment, those with low cognitive scores
experienced working memory, delayed memory and visuospatial ability
improvement and those who reported clinical improvement in anxiety
exhibited improvement in the ability to engage inhibition and episodic
recall. These improvements were modest and of similar magnitude in both
Generalised anxiety disorder in older adults is associated with
neuropsychological impairments, which are associated with functional
impairment. Those with GAD who either have a low cognitive performance or
report clinical improvement in anxiety post-treatment, show improvement
in multiple cognitive domains. These findings underscore the importance
of treatments that aid cognition as well as anxiety symptoms.
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