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J Affect Disord. 2006 Oct;95(1-3):165-71. Epub 2006 Jun 21.

Differential performance on tasks of affective processing and decision-making in patients with Panic Disorder and Panic Disorder with comorbid Major Depressive Disorder.

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  • 1Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program, National Institute of Mental Health, NIH, DHHS, Bethesda MD, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Neuropsychological studies have provided evidence for deficits in psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and mood disorders. However, neuropsychological function in Panic Disorder (PD) or PD with a comorbid diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) has not been comprehensively studied. The present study investigated neuropsychological functioning in patients with PD and PD + MDD by focusing on tasks that assess attention, psychomotor speed, executive function, decision-making, and affective processing.

METHODS:

Twenty-two unmedicated patients with PD, eleven of whom had a secondary diagnosis of MDD, were compared to twenty-two healthy controls, matched for gender, age, and intelligence on tasks of attention, memory, psychomotor speed, executive function, decision-making, and affective processing from the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB), Cambridge Gamble Task, and Affective Go/No-go Task.

RESULTS:

Relative to matched healthy controls, patients with PD + MDD displayed an attentional bias toward negatively-valenced verbal stimuli (Affective Go/No-go Task) and longer decision-making latencies (Cambridge Gamble Task). Furthermore, the PD + MDD group committed more errors on a task of memory and visual discrimination compared to their controls. In contrast, no group differences were found for PD patients relative to matched control subjects.

LIMITATIONS:

The sample size was limited, however, all patients were drug-free at the time of testing.

CONCLUSIONS:

The PD + MDD patients demonstrated deficits on a task involving visual discrimination and working memory, and an attentional bias towards negatively-valenced stimuli. In addition, patients with comorbid depression provided qualitatively different responses in the areas of affective and decision-making processes.

PMID:
16793143
DOI:
10.1016/j.jad.2006.04.016
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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