OBJECTIVE - Older adults with major depressive disorder (MDD) experience poor cognitive and behavioral outcomes as MDD occurs in the context of other age-related brain changes. Patients with depression often have impairments on measures of frontal lobe functioning such as working memory. Understanding the effects of depression on cognitive functioning in older adults is important for the development of treatment strategies that focus on cognitive changes as well as mood.
METHODS - Eleven older adults with current MDD and 12 nondepressed comparison participants (all aged 60 years and older) performed the N-back test of working memory during fMRI.
RESULTS - Depressed older adults performed worse than nondepressed participants on the N-back task. Depressed older adults had decreased lateral frontal and parietal activation during the most difficult working memory load condition on the N-back compared with nondepressed older adults.
CONCLUSION - Cognitive dysfunction in geriatric depression may be related to reorganization of brain networks involved in working memory.
Copyright © 2015 American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.