Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Brain Cogn. 2017 Nov;118:108-117. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2017.08.003. Epub 2017 Aug 18.

Executive function and cardiac autonomic regulation in depressive disorders.

Author information

1
UMIT - University of Health Sciences Medical Informatics and Technology, Institute of Psychology, Eduard-Wallnöfer-Zentrum 1, 6060 Hall in Tirol, Austria. Electronic address: alexandra.hoffmann@umit.at.
2
University of Bonn, Department of Psychology, Kaiser-Karl-Ring 9, 53111 Bonn, Germany. Electronic address: ulrich.ettinger@uni-bonn.de.
3
University of Jaén, Department of Psychology, 23071 Jaén, Spain. Electronic address: greyes@ujaen.es.
4
UMIT - University of Health Sciences Medical Informatics and Technology, Institute of Psychology, Eduard-Wallnöfer-Zentrum 1, 6060 Hall in Tirol, Austria. Electronic address: stefan.duschek@umit.at.

Abstract

Executive function impairments have been frequently observed in depressive disorders. Moreover, reduced heart rate variability (HRV) has repeatedly been described, especially in the high frequency band (i.e., respiratory sinus arrhythmia, RSA), suggesting lower vagal cardiac outflow. The study tested the hypothesis of involvement of low vagal tone in executive dysfunction in depression. In addition to RSA, HRV in the low frequency (LF) band was assessed. In 36 patients with depression and 36 healthy subjects, electrocardiography recordings were accomplished at rest and during performance of five executive function tasks (number-letter task, n-back task, continuous performance test, flanker task, and antisaccade task). Patients displayed increased error rates and longer reaction times in the task-switching condition of the number-letter task, in addition to increased error rates in the n-back task and the final of two blocks of the antisaccade task. In patients, both HRV parameters were lower during all experimental phases. RSA correlated negatively with reaction time during task-switching. This finding confirms reduced performance across different executive functions in depression and suggests that, in addition to RSA, LF HRV is also diminished. However, the hypothesis of involvement of low parasympathetic tone in executive dysfunction related to depression received only limited support.

KEYWORDS:

Autonomic control; Cognition; Depression; Executive functions; Heart rate variability; Mood

PMID:
28826051
DOI:
10.1016/j.bandc.2017.08.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center