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Impairment in financial capacity is an early sign of cognitive decline and functional impairment in late life. Cognitive impairments such as executive dysfunction are well documented in late-life major depression; however, little progress has been made in assessing associations of these impairments with financial incapacity.
Participants included 95 clinically depressed and 41 nondepressed older adults without dementia. Financial capacity (assessed with the Managing Money scale of the Independent Living Scale), cognitive functioning (comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation), and depression severity (Hamilton Depression Rating Scale – 24) were assessed. T tests were used to assess group differences. Linear regression was used to analyze data.
Depressed participants performed significantly lower on financial capacity (t = 2.98, p < .01). Among depressed participants, executive functioning (B = .24, p < .05) was associated with reduced financial capacity, controlling for age, gender, education, depression severity, and other cognitive domains.
Our results underscore the importance of assessing financial capacity in older depressed adults as they are likely vulnerable to financial abuse even in the absence of dementia. It will be valuable to assess whether treatment for depression is an effective intervention to improve outcomes.
Use latent class analysis (LCA) to identify patterns of cognitive functioning in a sample of older adults with clinical depression and without dementia and assess demographic, psychiatric, and neurobiological predictors of class membership.
Neuropsychological assessment data from 121 participants in the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative-Depression project (ADNI-D) were analyzed, including measures of executive functioning, verbal and visual memory, visuospatial and language functioning, and processing speed. These data were analyzed using LCA, with predictors of class membership such as depression severity, depression and treatment history, amyloid burden, and APOE e4 allele also assessed.
A two-class model of cognitive functioning best fit the data, with the Lower Cognitive Class (46.1% of the sample) performing approximately one standard deviation below the Higher Cognitive Class (53.9%) on most tests. When predictors of class membership were assessed, carrying an APOE e4 allele was significantly associated with membership in the Lower Cognitive Class. Demographic characteristics, age of depression onset, depression severity, history of psychopharmacological treatment for depression, and amyloid positivity did not predict class membership.
LCA allows for identification of subgroups of cognitive functioning in a mostly cognitively intact late life depression (LLD) population. One subgroup, the Lower Cognitive Class, more likely to carry an APOE e4 allele, may be at a greater risk for subsequent cognitive decline, even though current performance on neuropsychological testing is within normal limits. These findings have implications for early identification of those at greatest risk, risk factors, and avenues for preventive intervention.
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