Recognition and Treatment of Cognitive Dysfunction in Major Depressive Disorder.

Research paper by Hannah H Zuckerman, Zihang Z Pan, Caroline C Park, Elisa E Brietzke, Natalie N Musial, Aisha S AS Shariq, Michelle M Iacobucci, Samantha J SJ Yim, Leanna M W LMW Lui, Carola C Rong, Roger S RS McIntyre

Indexed on: 20 Dec '18Published on: 20 Dec '18Published in: Frontiers in psychiatry


Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a prevalent, chronic, disabling, and multidimensional mental disorder. Cognitive dysfunction represents a core diagnostic and symptomatic criterion of MDD, and is a principal determinant of functional non-recovery. Cognitive impairment has been observed to persist despite remission of mood symptoms, suggesting dissociability of mood and cognitive symptoms in MDD. Recurrent impairments in several domains including, but not limited to, executive function, learning and memory, processing speed, and attention and concentration, are associated with poor psychosocial and occupational outcomes. Attempts to restore premorbid functioning in individuals with MDD requires regular screenings and assessment of objective and subjective measures of cognition by clinicians. Easily accessible and cost-effective tools such as the THINC-integrated tool (THINC-it) are suitable for use in a busy clinical environment and appear to be promising for routine usage in clinical settings. However, antidepressant treatments targeting specific cognitive domains in MDD have been insufficiently studied. While select antidepressants, e.g., vortioxetine, have been demonstrated to have direct and independent pro-cognitive effects in adults with MDD, research on additional agents remains nascent. A comprehensive clinical approach to cognitive impairments in MDD is required. The current narrative review aims to delineate the importance and relevance of cognitive dysfunction as a symptomatic target for prevention and treatment in the phenomenology of MDD.