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Am J Psychiatry. 2007 Mar;164(3):516-9.

Performance on a virtual reality spatial memory navigation task in depressed patients.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Molecular Pathophysiology, Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program, NIMH, Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center, 10 Center Dr., Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Findings on spatial memory in depression have been inconsistent. A navigation task based on virtual reality may provide a more sensitive and consistent measure of the hippocampal-related spatial memory deficits associated with depression.

METHOD:

Performance on a novel virtual reality navigation task and a traditional measure of spatial memory was assessed in 30 depressed patients (unipolar and bipolar) and 19 normal comparison subjects.

RESULTS:

Depressed patients performed significantly worse than comparison subjects on the virtual reality task, as assessed by the number of locations found in the virtual town. Between-group differences were not detected on the traditional measure. The navigation task showed high test-retest reliability.

CONCLUSIONS:

Depressed patients performed worse than healthy subjects on a novel spatial memory task. Virtual reality navigation may provide a consistent, sensitive measure of cognitive deficits in patients with affective disorders, representing a mechanism to study a putative endophenotype for hippocampal function.

PMID:
17329478
DOI:
10.1176/ajp.2007.164.3.516
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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