Autobiographical memory in the euthymic phase of recurrent depression.
ABSTRACT The authors investigated autobiographical memory specificity in subjects who formerly had depression. In 122 euthymic patients with at least two previous major depressive episodes, memory specificity was significantly impaired compared to matched control participants but not related to residual symptoms and illness characteristics, was not differentially affected by cognitive therapy, and was also not predictive of relapse/recurrence during the 2-year follow-up. However, memory specificity was associated with age, education, and immediate and delayed memory recall. The results suggest that memory specificity may reflect a global cognitive impairment that remains in patients who (formerly) had depression but does not constitute a trait marker for vulnerability for relapse/recurrence.
06/2015; 5(2):144-164. DOI:10.3390/brainsci5020144
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ABSTRACT: Depression is a debilitating mental health problem that tends to run a chronic, recurrent course. Even when effectively treated, relapse and recurrence rates remain high. Accordingly, interventions need to focus not only on symptom reduction, but also on reducing the risk of relapse by targeting depression-related disturbances that persist into remission. We are addressing this need by investigating the efficacy, acceptability and feasibility of a MEmory Specificity Training (MEST) programme, which directly targets an enduring cognitive marker of depression - reduced autobiographical memory specificity. Promising pilot data suggest that training memory specificity ameliorates this disturbance and reduces depressive symptoms. A larger, controlled trial is now needed to examine the efficacy of MEST. This trial compares MEST to an education and support (ES) group, with an embedded mechanism study.Trials 07/2014; 15(1):293. DOI:10.1186/1745-6215-15-293 · 2.12 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Background. Individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD) tested in either the depressed (dMDD) or remitted phase (rMDD) recall fewer specific and more categorical autobiographical memories (AMs) compared to healthy controls (HCs). The current study aimed to replicate findings of AM overgenerality in dMDD or rMDD, and to elucidate differences in neurophysiological correlates of AM recall between these MDD samples and HCs. Method. Unmedicated participants who met criteria for the dMDD, rMDD or HC groups (n = 16/group) underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while recalling AMs in response to emotionally valenced cue words. Control tasks involved generating examples from an assigned semantic category and counting the number of risers in a letter string. Results. The results showed fewer specific and more categorical AMs in both MDD samples versus HCs; dMDDs and rMDDs performed similarly on these measures. The neuroimaging results showed differences between groups in the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (DMPFC), lateral orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), anterior insula, inferior temporal gyrus and parahippocampus/hippocampus during specific AM recall versus example generation. During specific AM recall cued by positively valenced words, group differences were evident in the DMPFC, middle temporal gyrus, parahippocampus/hippocampus and occipital gyrus, whereas differences during specific AM recall cued by negatively valenced words were evident in the DMPFC, superior temporal gyrus and hippocampus. Conclusions. AM deficits exist in rMDDs, suggesting that these impairments constitute trait-like abnormalities in MDD. We also found distinct patterns of hemodynamic activity for each group as they recalled specific AMs, raising the possibility that each group used a partly unique strategy for self-referential focus during successful retrieval of specific memories.Psychological Medicine 03/2014; 44(14):1-13. DOI:10.1017/S0033291714000464 · 5.43 Impact Factor