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Time Course Of Prefrontal Lobe Dysfunction In Severely Depressed In-patients: A Longitudinal Neuropsychological Study

C. Trichard, J. L. Martinot, M. Alagille, M. C. Masure, P. Hardy, D. Ginestet, A. Féline

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SynopsisThe Stroop Colour-Word Test (SCWT) and the Verbal Fluency Test (VFT), two tests that have been suggested to be particularly sensitive to prefrontal dysfunction, were administered to 23 severely depressed in-patients. Both tests were impaired in patients at inclusion, but only verbal fluency normalized with successful treatment of depression. VFT impairment is consistent with the hypothesis of a left prefrontal cortex dysfunction in depression. Moreover, the persistence of an impaired performance on SCWT in patients at discharge suggests that a selective attention deficit may persist in patients beyond a clear clinical improvement.