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Cognition in MDD and Aberrant Network Connectivity

J Psychiatr Res; 2019 Mar; Albert, Potter, Boyd, et al

Cognitive performance in major depressive disorder (MDD) may be associated with aberrant functional connectivity in cognitive networks, according to a recent study, and suggests patterns of alternate brain function that may support cognitive processes in MDD. 51 depressed (MDD, n=23) and non-depressed (control, n=28) adult participants completed neuropsychological testing and resting-state fMRI (rsfMRI). Cognitive domain scores (processing speed, working memory, episodic memory, and executive function) were calculated. Anatomical regions of interests were entered as seeds for functional connectivity analyses in: default mode (DMN), salience, and executive control (ECN) networks. Partial correlations controlling for age and sex were conducted for cognitive domain scores and functional connectivity in clusters with significant differences between groups. Researchers found:

  • Significant rsfMRI differences between groups were identified in multiple clusters in the DMN and ECN.
  • Greater positive connectivity within the ECN and between ECN and DMN regions was associated with poorer episodic memory performance in the control group but better performance in the MDD group.
  • Greater connectivity within the DMN was associated with better episodic and working memory performance in the control group but worse performance in the MDD group.


Albert KM, Potter GG, Boyd BD, Kang H, Taylor WD. Brain network functional connectivity and cognitive performance in major depressive disorder. J Psychiatr Res. 2019;110:51.56. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2018.11.020.