Tag Archives: Major depressive disorder

Noncognitive symptoms of early Alzheimer disease

19 Jan

A paper published in the journal Neurology looks at changes in mood as an early symptom of dementia. Depression tends to increase as we age, this study found that depressive symptoms appeared earlier in those who later developed dementia. An interesting result, but this line of research is at the point where it would lead to earlier diagnosis.

Here is the abstract:

“Objectives: To observe the natural time course of noncognitive symptoms before the onset of symptomatic Alzheimer disease dementia.

Methods: Using the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center Uniform Data Set from September 2005 to March 2013, data from cognitively normal individuals who were aged 50 years or older at first visit and had subsequent follow-up were analyzed. Survival analyses were used to examine the development of particular symptoms relative to each other on the Neuropsychiatric Inventory Questionnaire (NPI-Q), Functional Activities Questionnaire, and Geriatric Depression Scale, and to compare the development of individual symptoms for persons who did and did not receive a Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) >0 (indicating abnormal cognition) during the follow-up period.

Results: The order of symptom occurrence on the NPI-Q was similar for participants who remained at CDR 0 and for those who received a CDR >0 over the follow-up period, although the time to most NPI-Q symptoms was faster for participants who received a CDR >0 (p < 0.001). With the exception of memory, Geriatric Depression Scale symptoms reported by both CDR groups were similar.

Conclusions: We found a significantly earlier presence of positive symptoms on the NPI-Q in cognitively normal patients who subsequently developed CDR >0. Among participants with no depression symptoms at baseline, results suggest that depressive symptoms may increase with aging regardless of incipient dementia. Such findings begin to delineate the noncognitive course of Alzheimer disease dementia in the preclinical stages. Future research must further elucidate the correlation between noncognitive changes and distinct dementia subtypes.”


Self-compassion as a treatment for major depressive disorder

11 Jul

From my interest in metta meditation, I have been reading about the construct “self-compassion.”

In the most recent  journal Behaviour Research and Therapy I found this paper:  “Self-compassion as an emotion regulation strategy in major depressive disorder.” Here are the paper’s highlights:

“Self-compassion is more effective in reducing depressed mood in major depressive disorder than a waiting condition.

Self-compassion, reappraisal and acceptance do not differ in their effectiveness in regulating depressed mood in depression.

The intensity of depressed mood at baseline moderates the comparative effectiveness of self-compassion and reappraisal.”

The entire abstract can be found here.


Exercise and depression: A review of the evidence

15 Sep

The Cochrane Reviews are comprehensive and systematic examinations of different health interventions. One of the most important keys to  understanding research is to understand that a single study rarely resolves an issue. One must look at both the quality of individual studies and the overall weight of the evidence.

The Cochrane Reviews try to provide that kind of overview.

A  recent Cochrane report on the effects of exercise on depression finds:

“Exercise is moderately more effective than no therapy for reducing symptoms of depression.
Exercise is no more effective than antidepressants for reducing symptoms of depression, although this conclusion is based on a small number of studies.
Exercise is no more effective than psychological therapies for reducing symptoms of depression, although this conclusion is based on small number of studies.
The reviewers also note that when only high-quality studies were included, the difference between exercise and no therapy is less conclusive.
Attendance rates for exercise treatments ranged from 50% to 100%.
The evidence about whether exercise for depression improves quality of life is inconclusive.”

Thus, the claim that “exercise is the best anti-depressant” is not supported by the evidence. On the other hand, exercise may be a helpful adjunct to other therapeutic interventions.

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