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Comorbid Anxiety Symptoms on Cognitive Deficits in Patients With MDD

There is no significant difference in cognitive performance between patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) alone and those with major depressive disorder with anxiety (MDDA), a new study found. Executive function, processing speed, attention and memory were assessed in 162 patients with MDD and 142 healthy controls. 14-item Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A) was used for anxiety symptoms and MDD patients with HAM-A total score >14 were classified into MDD with comorbid anxiety group. Researchers found:

  • There were no significant differences in all 4 cognitive domains between patients with MDD alone and patients with MDDA.
  • In MDDA subgroup, HAM-A total score contributed to executive function and memory, while HAM-A psychic symptoms contribute to all 4 domains.
  • Anxiety symptoms only independently triggered executive dysfunction when eliminating effect of the severity of depression.


Liu J, et al. Influence of comorbid anxiety symptoms on cognitive deficits in patients with major depressive disorder. J Affect Disord. 2020;260:91-96.