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Biol Psychiatry. 1984 Jan;19(1):55-72.

Neuropsychological test performance in depressed patients before and after drug therapy.


Sixty psychiatrically depressed patients (female = 39, male = 21), classified as psychotic or neurotic, were neuropsychologically assessed on an expanded Halstead-Reitan battery before antidepressant medication. Extant normative data from a large control group (N = 142) were employed for comparative purposes. Statistical analysis of the pretreatment data revealed a selective impairment in the processing of visuospatial material and retention of both nonverbal and verbal information by both the Neurotic and Psychotic groups, with greater impairment shown by the latter group. Separation of the Psychotic group from the Neurotic and Control groups was possible using these data. Posttreatment data analysis, although tentative due to the high attrition rate (female = 19, male = 14), indicated significant improvement in those abilities most impaired initially and did not allow separation of the Neurotic and Psychotic groups from the Normal group. These results are consistent with previous research which suggest greater perturbation of the nondominant hemisphere in depressive disorders, attenuation of cognitive deficits with amelioration of symptomatology, and the presence of residual deficits after treatment in older subjects.

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