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Objectives: Individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD) demonstrate poorer learning and memory skills relative to never-depressed comparisons (NDC). Previous studies report decreased volume and disrupted function of frontal lobes and hippocampi in MDD during memory challenge. However, it has been difficult to dissociate contributions of short-term memory and executive functioning to memory difficulties from those that might be attributable to long-term memory deficits. Methods: Adult males (MDD, n=19; NDC, n=22) and females (MDD, n=23; NDC, n=19) performed the Semantic List Learning Task (SLLT) during functional magnetic resonance imaging. The SLLT Encoding condition consists of 15 lists, each containing 14 words. After each list, a Distractor condition occurs, followed by cued Silent Rehearsal instructions. Post-scan recall and recognition were collected. Groups were compared using block (Encoding-Silent Rehearsal) and event-related (Words Recalled) models. Results: MDD displayed lower recall relative to NDC. NDC displayed greater activation in several temporal, frontal, and parietal regions, for both Encoding-Silent Rehearsal and the Words Recalled analyses. Groups also differed in activation patterns in regions of the Papez circuit in planned analyses. The majority of activation differences were not related to performance, presence of medications, presence of comorbid anxiety disorder, or decreased gray matter volume in MDD. Conclusions: Adults with MDD exhibit memory difficulties during a task designed to reduce the contribution of individual variability from short-term memory and executive functioning processes, parallel with decreased activation in memory and executive functioning circuits. Ecologically valid long-term memory tasks are imperative for uncovering neural correlates of memory performance deficits in adults with MDD. (JINS, 2016, 22, 412–425)
Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) affects a significant number of combat veterans returning from Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF). Although resolution of mTBI symptoms is expected over time, some individuals continue to report lingering cognitive difficulties. This study examined the contributions of self-reported mTBI injury characteristics (e.g., loss of consciousness, post-traumatic amnesia) and psychiatric symptoms to both subjective and objective cognitive functioning in a sample of 167 OEF/OIF veterans seen in a TBI clinic. Injury characteristics were not associated with performance on neuropsychological tests but were variably related to subjective ratings of cognitive functioning. Psychiatric symptoms were highly prevalent and fully mediated most of the relationships between injury characteristics and cognitive ratings. This indicates that mTBI characteristics such as longer time since injury and loss of consciousness or post-traumatic amnesia can lead to increased perceived cognitive deficits despite having no objective effects on cognitive performance. Psychiatric symptoms were associated with both cognitive ratings and neuropsychological performance, illustrating the important role that psychiatric treatment can potentially play in optimizing functioning. Finally, subjective cognitive ratings were not predictive of neuropsychological performance once psychiatric functioning was statistically controlled, suggesting that neuropsychological assessment provides valuable information that cannot be gleaned from self-report alone. (JINS, 2012, 18, 576–584)
The Canadian MOST satellite is a unique platform for observations of bright transiting exoplanetary systems. Providing nearly continuous photometric observations for up to 4 weeks, MOST can produce important observational data to help us learn about the properties of exosolar planets. We review our current observations of HD 209458 and HD 189733 with implications for the albedo and our progress towards detecting reflected light from an exoplanet.
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