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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 39  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 66-72

Cognitive dysfunction profile in a sample of Egyptian patients experiencing major depressive disorder


Department of Neurology and Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Hesham A Sheshtawy
Department of Neurology and Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Alexandria University, Alexandria, 21525
Egypt
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ejpsy.ejpsy_28_17

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Aim The aim was to study the profile of cognitive dysfunction in a sample of Egyptian patients experiencing major depressive disorder (MDD), during the relapse phase. Patients and methods Certain cognitive functions (types of attention, short-term memory, processing speed, verbal fluency, and executive functions) were assessed in 30 Egyptian patients diagnosed as having MDD compared with 30 controls. Results There was no statistically significant difference between MDD group and control group regarding scores of digit forward test. Patients’ mean scores of digit backward test, digit symbol test, and semantic fluency test were significantly lesser than the control group’s mean scores of the same tests. On the contrary, patients’ mean scores of trail making test (A and B) were greater significantly than control group’s mean scores of the same tests. Age, duration of education, age at illness onset, number of hospitalizations, and Hamilton score were significantly correlated with impairment of some areas of cognitive functions. Sex, employment, duration of illness, number of previous episodes, and receiving antidepressant medications were not related or correlated with cognitive dysfunction. Increase severity of illness, detected by high Hamilton score, and to a lesser extent, number of hospitalization and duration of education were significant independent predictors for poor performance of the tested cognitive fuctions. Conclusion Selective attention, divided attention, short-term memory, processing speed, verbal fluency, and executive functions are significantly affected in MDD. This can explain the patients’ clinical complaints of difficulty in concentration, easy forgetfulness, and impaired decision making. On the contrary, sustained attention is not affected in patients with MDD. Therefore, the ruminated negative thoughts and memories are manifest complaints in these patients. Severity of illness is the most important predictive factor for discovering cognitive dysfunction symptoms in patients with MDD. Age and age of illness onset are positively correlated with poor cognitive performance; however, they are dependent predictors.


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