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Slowed information processing speed (IPS) is the core contributor to cognitive impairment in patients with late-life depression (LLD). The hippocampus is an important link between depression and dementia, and it may be involved in IPS slowing in LLD. However, the relationship between a slowed IPS and the dynamic activity and connectivity of hippocampal subregions in patients with LLD remains unclear.
One hundred thirty-four patients with LLD and 89 healthy controls were recruited. Sliding-window analysis was used to assess whole-brain dynamic functional connectivity (dFC), dynamic fractional amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (dfALFF) and dynamic regional homogeneity (dReHo) for each hippocampal subregion seed.
Cognitive impairment (global cognition, verbal memory, language, visual–spatial skill, executive function and working memory) in patients with LLD was mediated by their slowed IPS. Compared with the controls, patients with LLD exhibited decreased dFC between various hippocampal subregions and the frontal cortex and decreased dReho in the left rostral hippocampus. Additionally, most of the dFCs were negatively associated with the severity of depressive symptoms and were positively associated with various domains of cognitive function. Moreover, the dFC between the left rostral hippocampus and middle frontal gyrus exhibited a partial mediation effect on the relationships between the scores of depressive symptoms and IPS.
Patients with LLD exhibited decreased dFC between the hippocampus and frontal cortex, and the decreased dFC between the left rostral hippocampus and right middle frontal gyrus was involved in the underlying neural substrate of the slowed IPS.
Cognitive impairment in late-life depression is common and associated with a higher risk of all-cause dementia. Late-life depression patients with comorbid cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) or related risk factors may experience higher risks of cognitive deterioration in the short term. We aim to investigate the effect of CVDs and their related risk factors on the cognitive function of patients with late-life depression.
A total of 148 participants were recruited (67 individuals with late-life depression and 81 normal controls). The presence of hypertension, coronary heart disease, diabetes mellitus, or hyperlipidemia was defined as the presence of comorbid CVDs or related risk factors. Global cognitive functions were assessed at baseline and after a one-year follow-up by the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). Global cognitive deterioration was defined by the reliable change index (RCI) of the MMSE.
Late-life depression patients with CVDs or related risk factors were associated with 6.8 times higher risk of global cognitive deterioration than those without any of these comorbidities at a one-year follow-up. This result remained robust after adjusting for age, gender, and changes in the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD) scores.
This study suggests that late-life depression patients with comorbid CVDs or their related risk factors showed a higher risk of cognitive deterioration in the short-term (one-year follow up). Given that CVDs and their related risk factors are currently modifiable, active treatment of these comorbidities may delay rapid cognitive deterioration in patients with late-life depression.
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