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Psychol Med. 2007 Sep;37(9):1229-38. Epub 2007 Jul 5.

Successful computer-assisted cognitive remediation therapy in patients with unipolar depression: a proof of principle study.

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  • 1McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Despite increasing awareness of the extent and severity of cognitive deficits in major depressive disorder (MDD), trials of cognitive remediation have not been conducted. We conducted a 10-week course of cognitive remediation in patients with long-term MDD to probe whether deficits in four targeted cognitive domains, (i) memory, (ii) attention, (iii) executive functioning and (iv) psychomotor speed, could be improved by this intervention.

METHOD:

We administered a computerized cognitive retraining package (PSSCogReHab) with demonstrated efficacy to 12 stable patients with recurrent MDD. Twelve matched patients with MDD and a group of healthy control participants were included for comparison; neither comparator group received the intervention that involved stimulation of cognitive functions through targeted, repetitive exercises in each domain.

RESULTS:

Patients who received cognitive training improved on a range of neuropsychological tests targeting attention, verbal learning and memory, psychomotor speed and executive function. This improvement exceeded that observed over the same time period in a group of matched comparisons. There was no change in depressive symptom scores over the course of the trial, thus improvement in cognitive performance occurred independent of other illness variables.

CONCLUSIONS:

These results provide preliminary evidence that improvement of cognitive functions through targeted, repetitive exercises is a viable method of cognitive remediation in patients with recurrent MDD.

PMID:
17610766
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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