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Visual cognitive dysfunction in depression: an event-related potential study.

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CHSA Clinique des maladies mentales et de l'enc├ęphale and Centre R., Garcin Service de Neurologie, Paris, France.


The P3(00) event-related potentials (ERPs) elicited by visual stimuli in two visual tasks were assessed in depressed patients (12 patients with major depression and 11 patients with bipolar disorder) and compared with those of 20 age-matched normal controls. At remission, the ERPs from 18 of the depressed patients were again recorded. The visual oddball (VO) paradigm presented both target and standard visual stimuli and the simple visual (SV) paradigm presented a target but no standard visual stimulus. Subjects performed the VO task significantly less accurately than the SV task, as reflected by the behavioral measures (reaction-time and task accuracy). Depressed patients of the bipolar group showed longer P3 peak latency for the VO task and no change in P3 amplitude. No significant differences were found in any other ERP component between the groups. During remission, slowing RTs and reduced P3 peak latencies were observed for both major depression and bipolar disorder groups. Thus, the P3 ERP may be an index of the contribution of the slowed central processing to psychomotor retardation in clinically homogenous samples of depressive patients performing an appropriately demanding task.

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