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Depressed Elders Exhibit Greater Cognitive Decline

Am J Geriatr Psychiatry; ePub 2017 Mar 27; Riddle, et al

Consistent with past studies, depressed elders exhibit greater cognitive decline than nondepressed subjects, particularly individuals with early depression onset, according to a recent study. 273 depressed and 164 never-depressed community dwelling elders aged ≥60 years were followed on average for >5 years. Participants completed annual neuropsychological testing and neuropsychological measures were converted to z-scores derived from the baseline performance of all participants. Researchers found:

  • Depressed participants exhibited poorer performance at baseline and greater subsequent decline in all domains.
  • Early-onset depressed individuals exhibited a greater decline in all domains than the late-onset or nondepressed groups.
  • For remission, remitters and nonremitters at both 3- and 12-months exhibited greater decline in episodic memory and attention-working memory than nondepressed subjects.
  • 3-month remitters also exhibited a greater decline in verbal fluency and executive function, while 12-month nonremitters exhibited greater decline in executive function than other groups.


Riddle M, Potter GG, McQuoid DR, Steffens DC, Beyer JL, Taylor WD. Longitudinal cognitive outcomes of clinical phenotypes of late-life depression. [Published online ahead of print March 27, 2017]. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. doi:10.1016/j.jagp.2017.03.016.