A general impairment in cognition is a feature of familial disposition for major depressive disorder (MDD), according to a recent meta-analysis. Therefore, cognition may contribute to early identification of risk for depression and may be examined as potential target for early intervention. Researchers conducted a literature search using combinations of search terms for depression, first-degree relatives, and cognition from January 1, 1980, to July 15, 2018. They found:
- Across 284 measures of cognition in 54 non-overlapping samples including 3,246 relatives of people with MDD (mean age 15.38 years, 57.68% females) and 5,222 controls (mean age 14.70 years, 55.93% females), relatives of people with MDD performed worse than controls across all measures of cognition.
- Domain-specific meta-analyses showed similar size of relative-control difference in most domains of cognition, including Full-Scale IQ, verbal intelligence, perceptual intelligence, memory, academic performance, and language.
- Study characteristics were not significantly associated with observed between-group differences.
MacKenzie LE, Uher R, Pavlova B. Cognitive performance in first-degree relatives of individuals with vs without major depressive disorder. A meta-analysis. [Published online ahead of print December 26, 2018]. JAMA Psychiatry. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.3672.