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Defining Cognitive Profiles Of Depressive Patients Using The Brief Assessment Of Cognition In Affective Disorders

Ruei-An Chen, Chun-Yi Lee, Yu Lee, Chi-Fa Hung, Yu-Chi Huang, Pao-Yen Lin, Sheng-Yu Lee, Liang-Jen Wang

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Background Cognitive impairments in patients with depressive disorders have a negative impact on their daily skill functioning and quality of life. In this study, we evaluated the cognitive profiles and associated factors of patients with depressive disorders with the Brief Assessment of Cognition in Affective Disorders (BAC-A). Methods This cross-sectional study consisted of 75 patients with depressive disorders (56 patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and 19 patients with depressive disorder NOS or dysthymic disorder (non-MDD)). We evaluated the participants’ cognitive functions at euthymic status using the BAC-A. The BAC-A includes six subtests derived from the Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia (BAC-S) and Affective Processing Tests. The current severity of depressive symptoms was assessed with the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD-17), and we recorded any psychotropic drugs being used by the patients. Results We observed no differences in cognitive profiles in the MDD group and non-MDD group after adjusting for educational levels, severity of depression, and psychotropic drugs. Instead, the HAMD-17 scores were negatively correlated to cognitive performance in working memory, motor speed, verbal fluency, attention and processing speed, executive function, composite score, and the six indexes of the Affective Processing Test measured by the BAC-A. A longer illness duration was associated with worse performance of four indexes of the Affective Processing Test. Furthermore, benzodiazepine use was associated with a worse performance of verbal memory, and antidepressant use was associated with better motor speed performance. Conclusion The current severity of depressive symptoms and psychotropic drugs being taken, not the diagnosis category, are associated with cognitive impairments in patients with depressive disorders. Clinicians should pay particular attention to managing residual depressive symptoms and prescribing adequate psychotropic drugs in order to eliminate depressive patients’ cognitive deficits.