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Open Access Primary research

Cognitive performance in older elderly men with late-life depression and cardiovascular comorbidities: symptomatological correlation

Yun-Hsuan Chang12, Mu-En Liu5, Chih-Chun Huang3, Yan-Chiou Ku6, Sheng-Yu Lee23, Shiou-Lan Chen2, Wen-Chien Liu7 and Ru-Band Lu12348*

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Clinical Psychology, Institute of Allied Health Sciences, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan 704, Taiwan

2 Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan 704, Taiwan

3 Department of Psychiatry, National Cheng Kung University Hospital, Tainan 704, Taiwan

4 Institute of Behavioral Medicine, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan 704, Taiwan

5 Department of Psychiatry, Taipei Veteran General Hospital, Taipei 11217, Taiwan

6 Department of Nursing, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, Kaohsiung 813, Taiwan

7 Department of Psychiatry, Yuli Veterans Hospital, Hualien 970, Taiwan

8 Addiction Research Center, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan 704, Taiwan

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Annals of General Psychiatry 2013, 12:36  doi:10.1186/1744-859X-12-36

Published: 15 November 2013

Abstract

Background

Whether depression or cardiovascular disease would have a greater effect on worsening cognitive impairment in the burgeoning older elderly population is uncertain. Which disorder causes greater cognitive impairment was investigated.

Methods

A cross section of 207 cognitively impaired older elderly (≥75 years old) men was recruited from outpatient clinics in southern Taiwan between 2004 and 2008. Their medical charts were reviewed for their history of medical illnesses, and those undergoing a current major depressive episode were screened using the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview. Four groups of men were enrolled: 33 healthy controls (HC), 101 cognitively impaired patients with cardiovascular comorbidities (CVCs), 34 patients with late-life depression (LLD), and 49 patients with LLD and cardiovascular comorbidities (LLD + CVC). Several neuropsychological tests (e.g., Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), WCST, and Trail Making Test (TMT) parts A and B) were used to assess the participants.

Results

Cognitive function scores were highest in the HC group and lowest in the LLD + CVC group. There were no significant differences between the two groups with LLD comorbidity, and LLD was mostly associated with cognitive performance. LLD + CVC group members had the lowest recall memory, but their overall MMSE score was not significantly different. Moreover, this group had a higher but nonsignificantly different perseverative error than did the LLD group. Similarly, the LLD + CVC group was nonsignificantly slower at the TMT-A and TMT-B tasks than was the LLD group.

Conclusions

LLD worsens neuropsychological function more than cardiovascular comorbidities do.

Keywords:
Cardiovascular comorbidity; Cognitive function; Late-life depression; Major depression; Older elderly