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Cognitive disturbances are common and disabling features of major depressive disorder (MDD). Previous studies provide limited insight into the co-occurrence of hot (emotion-dependent) and cold (emotion-independent) cognitive disturbances in MDD. Therefore, we here map both hot and cold cognition in depressed patients compared to healthy individuals.
We collected neuropsychological data from 92 antidepressant-free MDD patients and 103 healthy controls. All participants completed a comprehensive neuropsychological test battery assessing hot cognition including emotion processing, affective verbal memory and social cognition as well as cold cognition including verbal and working memory and reaction time.
The depressed patients showed small to moderate negative affective biases on emotion processing outcomes, moderate increases in ratings of guilt and shame and moderate deficits in verbal and working memory as well as moderately slowed reaction time compared to healthy controls. We observed no correlations between individual cognitive tasks and depression severity in the depressed patients. Lastly, an exploratory cluster analysis suggested the presence of three cognitive profiles in MDD: one characterised predominantly by disturbed hot cognitive functions, one characterised predominantly by disturbed cold cognitive functions and one characterised by global impairment across all cognitive domains. Notably, the three cognitive profiles differed in depression severity.
We identified a pattern of small to moderate disturbances in both hot and cold cognition in MDD. While none of the individual cognitive outcomes mapped onto depression severity, cognitive profile clusters did. Overall cognition-based stratification tools may be useful in precision medicine approaches to MDD.
To examine the factors that are associated with changes in depression in people with type 2 diabetes living in 12 different countries.
People with type 2 diabetes treated in out-patient settings aged 18–65 years underwent a psychiatric assessment to diagnose major depressive disorder (MDD) at baseline and follow-up. At both time points, participants completed the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), the WHO five-item Well-being scale (WHO-5) and the Problem Areas in Diabetes (PAID) scale which measures diabetes-related distress. A composite stress score (CSS) (the occurrence of stressful life events and their reported degree of ‘upset’) between baseline and follow-up was calculated. Demographic data and medical record information were collected. Separate regression analyses were conducted with MDD and PHQ-9 scores as the dependent variables.
In total, there were 7.4% (120) incident cases of MDD with 81.5% (1317) continuing to remain free of a diagnosis of MDD. Univariate analyses demonstrated that those with MDD were more likely to be female, less likely to be physically active, more likely to have diabetes complications at baseline and have higher CSS. Mean scores for the WHO-5, PAID and PHQ-9 were poorer in those with incident MDD compared with those who had never had a diagnosis of MDD. Regression analyses demonstrated that higher PHQ-9, lower WHO-5 scores and greater CSS were significant predictors of incident MDD. Significant predictors of PHQ-9 were baseline PHQ-9 score, WHO-5, PAID and CSS.
This study demonstrates the importance of psychosocial factors in addition to physiological variables in the development of depressive symptoms and incident MDD in people with type 2 diabetes. Stressful life events, depressive symptoms and diabetes-related distress all play a significant role which has implications for practice. A more holistic approach to care, which recognises the interplay of these psychosocial factors, may help to mitigate their impact on diabetes self-management as well as MDD, thus early screening and treatment for symptoms is recommended.
Objective: There is clear evidence of a genetic component in major depression, and several studies indicate that neuropeptide Y (NPY) could play an important role in the pathophysiology of the disease. A well-known polymorphism encoding the substitution of leucine to proline in the signal peptide sequence of NPY (Leu7Pro variation) was previously found to protect against depression. Our study aimed at replicating this association in a large Danish population with major depression.
Method: Leu7Pro was studied in a sample of depressed patients and ethnically matched controls, as well as psychiatric disease controls with schizophrenia. Possible functional consequences of Leu7Pro were explored in vitro.
Results: In contrast to previous studies, Pro7 appeared to be a risk allele for depression, being significantly more frequent in the depression sample (5.5%, n = 593; p = 0.009; odds ratio, OR: 1.46) as compared to ethnically matched controls (3.8%, n = 2912), while schizophrenia patients (4.1%, n = 503) did not differ. In vitro, the Pro7 substitution appeared to be associated with reduced levels of NPY without affecting its mRNA level.
Conclusion: The Leu7Pro variation may increase the risk of major depression, possibly by affecting the biosynthesis of NPY.
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