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Psychopathology. 1993;26(1):6-12.

Cognitive function in the affective disorders: a prospective study.

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Universidad del Pais Vasco, EspaƱa.


A prospective, controlled study of 50 subjects confirmed claims that major depression or mania may cause temporary disorders of attention, memory, visuo-spatial function, and choice reaction time, and cause-independently of medication-the appearance of glabellar tap, positive hand-face test, nuchocephalic reflex, and graphesthesia. On follow-up, all these phenomena either disappeared or markedly improved. Age and age of onset, but not pre-morbid intelligence or history of ECT, seemed to modulate the severity of the cognitive impairment. Presence of delusions predicted poor (but reversible) visuo-spatial function. Cognitive impairment accompanied by reversible soft neurological signs was more marked but patients thus affected surprisingly showed lower depressive scores; this was interpreted as representing a secondary, 'organic' form of affective disorder (i.e. a behavioural phenocopy of depression) characterised by a reduced capacity to experience depressive symptoms and by little improvement at follow-up.

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