Characterising neurocognitive impairment in young people with major depression: state, trait or scar?

Poster B27, Friday, October 21, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Le Baron

Kelly Allott1,2, Caroline Fisher3,4, Paul Amminger1,2, Joanne Goodall1,2, Sarah Hetrick1,2; 1Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, Parvkille, Australia, 2Centre for Youth Mental Health, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia, 3The Melbourne Clinic, Richmond, Australia, 4Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Australia

Purpose: Major depressive disorder (MDD) affects a quarter of adolescents and young adults and is associated with the greatest global burden of disease in this population. There is growing literature, mostly in adults, showing that clinically significant neurocognitive impairments are common in MDD. It is unclear whether these impairments are pre-existing trait (risk) markers of MDD, state-related impairments that fluctuate with depressive symptoms, or ‘scar’ impairments that worsen with illness progression. AIM: To provide a conceptual framework for understanding neurocognitive impairment in MDD and to examine the current evidence for neurocognitive deficits as trait, state, and/or scar features of MDD. Method: Examination of evidence for neurocognitive deficits as trait, state, and scar features of MDD in adolescence and young adulthood (ages 12-25 years) was conducted. Results: The few premorbid and family studies conducted in youth provide equivocal evidence for neurocognitive impairments as trait markers of MDD. There are a limited, but growing number of longitudinal studies with repeated neurocognitive assessment in youth. Studies that examined neurocognition prior to the onset of MDD and with long-term follow-up provide tentative evidence for cognitive scarring. The presence of state-based neurocognitive impairment is unclear as evidence comes mostly from cross-sectional studies. Conclusion: Neurocognitive impairment is a feature of MDD in adolescents and young adults. To better understand the nature, timing and pattern of impairment, longitudinal studies examining neurocognition before and after the development of full-threshold MDD, including following recurrence are needed. This knowledge will have important implications for mechanisms, prevention and treatment of MDD.

Topic Area: Neurocognition

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