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Am J Psychiatry. 1997 Apr;154(4):497-501.

MRI-defined vascular depression.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.



The authors' goal was to characterize the clinical and demographic features of vascular depression.


They classified 89 depressed patients into two groups-those with vascular (N = 32) and nonvascular (N = 57) depression-on the basis of examination of brain magnetic resonance images. All of the patients were enrolled in the National Institute of Mental Health Clinical Research Center for the Study of Depression in Later Life, located at Duke University. The patients with vascular and nonvascular depression were compared on several clinical and demographic risk factors.


Bivariate analyses and a fully adjusted logistic regression model revealed that older age, late age at onset, and nonpsychotic subtype occurred more often in patients with vascular depression than in those with nonvascular depression. A family history of mental illness was found somewhat less often, and anhedonia and functional disability were seen somewhat more often in patients with vascular depression.


The profile of patients with vascular depression needs to be developed further. This is likely to have important therapeutic and theoretical implications for the management of these patients.

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