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J Psychiatr Res. 2012 Dec;46(12):1623-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2012.09.007. Epub 2012 Oct 2.

Affective set-shifting deficits in patients with major depression in remission.

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1
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Mitte, Charitéplatz 1, 10117 Berlin, Germany. claudia.lange@charite.de

Abstract

While numerous studies have focused on neuropsychological deficits during acute depressive episodes, results have been inconsistent for patients in remission. This case-control study aimed to explore whether remitted patients show deficits in an affective shifting task that has proven sensitive to assess emotional-cognitive deficits in acute depression. 69 fully remitted depressed patients were compared with 76 matched healthy subjects in their performance of a picture-based affective shifting task. Compared to healthy subjects, remitted patients show impaired go/no-go performance during shift, but not during non-shift conditions, reflecting a specific deficit in affective set-shifting. Impaired performance concerns omissions rather than false alarms or response times and is correlated with the duration of illness, but not the number of depressive episodes, time since remission or age. Our findings suggest that affective set-shifting deficits are also present during remission of depressive symptoms. These deficits may particularly concern enhanced inhibitory control and seem to develop over the course of the illness independent of acute episodes.

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