Article

A decrease in memory complaints is associated with mood improvement: A twelve-month follow up-study of depressed patients

Authors:
  • University of Eeastern Finland (Institute of Clinical Medicine) Finland
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

Abstract

The aim of our twelve-month follow-up study was to investigate memory complaints in adult, clinically depressed, neurologically healthy patients, focusing on the relationship between mood and memory complaints. Subjective memory disturbance was assessed using the Memory Complaint Questionnaire (MCQ) in a sample of 174 adult patients (mean age 44, range 21-64 years) suffering from depression. Levels of cognitive function, including memory, were assessed using a battery of neuropsychological tests. Mood and personality characteristics were assessed using rating scales, including the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS). All measurements were repeated on follow up after six and twelve months. Changes in memory complaints during the follow-up period were primarily associated with a change in mood, mental symptoms, alexithymic features and psychosocial capacity, but not in cognitive performance. We conclude, that alleviation of depression in adult, neurologically healthy patients usually results in the alleviation of subjective memory impairment. This finding could be used to motivate a depressed patient with subjective memory impairment to seek treatment.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... Geerlings et al. [6], in contrast, found no difference between the prevalence of memory complaints in people aged 65–74 and those aged 75 and over in a large-scale epidemiological study. SCI has been consistently associated with depression [16, 17], and improvement in mood with improvement in memory in younger adults [18]. SCI also predicted dementia in a 3-year prospective study of older primary care patients [19]. ...
Article
Full-text available
we measured subjective memory impairment (SMI) across the whole adult age range in a representative, national survey. Age is the strongest risk factor for dementia and SMI may be a precursor of objective cognitive impairment. We therefore hypothesised that SMI prevalence would rise with age in a non-demented population. we analysed data from the English 2007 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey, representative of people in private households. Participants were asked whether they had noticed problems with forgetting in the last month, or forgotten anything important in the last week; and completed the modified Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status. of those contacted, 7,461 (57%) participated. After excluding participants screening positive for dementia, 2,168 (31.7%) reported forgetfulness in the last month, while 449 (6.4%) had forgotten something important in the last week. Reporting forgetfulness was not associated with age. In a multivariate analysis including cognition and age, the only significant associates of reporting forgetfulness were anxiety, depressive and somatic symptoms. our hypothesis that subjective forgetfulness prevalence would rise with age in a non-demented population was not supported. Although subjective forgetfulness can be an early symptom of future or mild dementia, it is common and non-specific and-at population level-is more likely to be related to mood than to be an early symptom of dementia. Asking those presenting with subjective forgetfulness additional questions about memory and functional decline and objective forgetfulness is likely to help clinicians to detect those at risk of dementia.
... There is also evidence of a strong association between memory complaints and symptoms of depression (Comijs et al., 2002; Geerlings, Jonker, Bouter, Adèr, & Schmand, 1999; Lautenschlager, Flicker, Vasikaran, Leedman, & Almeida, 2005; Minett et al., 2005; Zandi, 2005) and anxiety (Comijs et al., 2002; Jorm et al., 2001; Lautenschlager et al., 2005), which suggests that memory complaints may instead reflect general worries associated with aging. This argument is strengthened by findings that improvement in depression symptoms corresponds to a reduction in complaints about memory problems (Antikainen et al., 2004) and is supported by associations observed between memory complaints and self-rated physical health (e.g., Comijs et al., 2002; St John & Montgomery, 2002), personality factors including neuroticism and low self-esteem and self-efficacy (Comijs et al., 2002; Jorm et al., 2004a; Pearman & Storandt, 2004), and negative beliefs regarding aging (Derouesne et al., 1989 ). Memory complaints also appear to increase with age (Comijs et al., 2002; St John et al., 2002) and may be more prevalent in highly educated individuals (e.g., Comijs et al., 2002; Geerlings et al., 1999). Finally, the extent to which memory complaints predict future cognitive decline or progression to dementia is uncertain. ...
Article
Full-text available
Cognitive and memory complaints were assessed in 100 healthy older adults on two occasions over 2.5 years as part of a 6-year study assessing cognition, mood, and general health factors. Diminished memory for names and actions and lapses in concentration were common complaints, regardless of the individuals' actual cognitive status. No change in cognitive complaints occurred over time, even for individuals whose memory had declined over 6 years. Cognitive complaints correlated with anxiety, depression, and general mental health but not with objectively measured memory or cognition, education or age. Complaints did not differ with gender, apolipoprotein E epsilon4 genotype, cardiovascular risk factors, or intake of sedating medications. Thus, cognitive complaints could not differentiate memory-declining older adults from cognitively normal older adults and were more closely associated with mood and general mental health than actual cognitive status, age, or potential risk factors for Alzheimer's disease. Thus, the evaluation of cognitive complaints must be broad and must consider the correspondence of complaints not only to relevant measurable cognitive abilities but also to the affect of the individual.
... In patients with clinically relevant depression and cognitive complaints, impaired performance on objective tests of memory and concentration is a common finding [6] , whereas FMD patients show normal neuropsychology. Nevertheless, relations between mood and cognitive complaint have been reported in psychiatric patients [7,8] , and FMD patients seem to have slightly elevated depression scores [3] , however, without suffering from clinically relevant depression. ...
Article
Full-text available
Sorry, there is no abstract. Read the first few lines of the text instead!
Article
Full-text available
Although subjective cognitive impairment (SCI) is increasingly recognized clinically and in research as a risk factor for mild cognitive impairment and dementia (particularly Alzheimer's disease), it is etiologically heterogeneous and potentially treatable. Compared to mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease, SCI however remains poorly characterized with debate continuing regarding its clinical relevance. The primary aim of this study was to improve the characterization of SCI within the general public by investigating functions sometimes omitted clinically or in research, namely visual attention-related information processing speed (RT) and its intra-individual variability (IIVRT), general cognition, depression, anxiety, memory, quality of life (QOL), and neuroticism. Compared to individuals without SCI, those with SCI were more likely to reveal higher scores of anxiety, depression, and neuroticism and poorer perceived physical, psychological, and environmental QOL. Within-group analysis identified no significant relationships between any of the above variables for the non-SCI group whereas for the SCI group, poorer Cognitive Change Index scores were significantly correlated with slower RT, raised IIVRT, poorer memory, negative affective symptoms, higher neuroticism scores, and poorer QOL. This indicates that reports of perceived memory changes in SCI can also be associated with other characteristics, namely objectively measured detrimental change in other aspects of brain function and behavior. This outcome emphasizes the importance of a multi-function approach to characterizing and understanding SCI. Thus, although the effect of RT and IIVRT is not strong enough to differentiate SCI from non-SCI at group level, slowing and raised IIVRT do appear to characterize some people with SCI.
Article
The objective of this study was to describe the relationship among cognitive test performance, psychological symptoms, and subjective cognitive difficulties in older adults with atherosclerotic vascular disease. Participants were 80 adults over the age of 55 with an unequivocal diagnosis of atherosclerotic vascular disease. Participants completed measures of neuropsychological functioning, psychological symptoms, and two measures of subjective cognitive difficulties. Psychological symptoms were most strongly associated with higher levels of reported cognitive difficulties. Overall neuropsychological functioning was modestly related to subjective cognitive difficulties but did not remain significant after controlling for psychological symptoms. In this sample of older adults with atherosclerotic vascular disease, self-reported cognitive difficulties were most strongly related to overall level of psychological distress and not to actual cognitive test scores. Therefore, psychological factors may play an important role in the phenomenon of self-perceived cognitive decline in geriatric populations.
Article
Full-text available
Addressing shortcomings of the self-report Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS), two studies were conducted to reconstruct the item domain of the scale. The first study resulted in the development of a new twenty-item version of the scale--the TAS-20. The TAS-20 demonstrated good internal consistency and test-retest reliability, and a three-factor structure theoretically congruent with the alexithymia construct. The stability and replicability of this three-factor structure were demonstrated in the second study with both clinical and nonclinical populations by the use of confirmatory factor analysis.
Article
This study examined the effect of depression on neurocognitive performance in patients who passed symptom validity testing. The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) was used to assess depression in 420 patients with heterogeneous referral diagnoses (more than half of these cases were head injury or neurological disease). All patients had demonstrated satisfactory effort by passing two symptom validity tests. No differences were found on objective cognitive and psychomotor measures in groups sorted based on their self-reported depression. In contrast, on the self-report measures [i.e., Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2), Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R), and Memory Complaints Inventory (MCI)], differences were found indicating that patients with depression report more emotional, somatic, and cognitive problems. Contrary to expectation, these data suggest that depression has no impact on objective neurocognitive functioning.
Article
The aim was to examine associations between memory complaints, cognitive performance and mood in 174 adult, clinically depressed, neurologically healthy patients at baseline and during six months of follow-up. Subjective memory disturbance was assessed using the Memory Complaint Questionnaire (MCQ). Levels of cognitive function, including memory, were assessed using a battery of neuropsychological tests. Mood and personality traits were assessed using rating scales, including the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) and the 90-item Symptom Check List (SCL-90). At baseline, patients complaining of memory disturbances had higher BDI and HDRS scores than patients not complaining of memory problems. They also did less well in objective memory performances but not in other cognitive functions. Complaints of memory problems decreased during the follow-up. This change was associated with mood improvement and with reductions in other mental symptoms but not with changes in cognitive performance. In logistic regression analysis factors independently associated with MCQ change were age (OR 0.96) and BDI change (OR 1.06). Subjective memory problems usually decline if depression is alleviated.
Article
Objective To compare the quantitative and qualitative aspects of memory complaints in cognitively normal subjects aged under and above 50 years.SettingA memory clinic located in a general hospital in a suburb of Paris offering direct access to subjects.DesignRetrospective review of the files of consecutive patients who attended the clinic during one year.ParticipantsSubjects were included if (a) they presented with memory complaints, (b) they had normal general cognitive functioning according to age and educational level, (c) they were devoid of present or past history of neurologic or psychiatric disorders.Methods Subjects rated the severity of memory complaints as major or minor and filled in a 8-item questionnaire assessing various memory difficulties in everyday life. Relationship between severity of memory complaints and demographic data, memory performance and affective status was compared in 183 non-depressed, non-cognitively impaired healthy adults aged 50 years and over, and in 77 younger adults.ResultsSemiologic aspects and correlates of memory complaints were similar in younger and older adults. No close relationship was found between severity of memory complaints and memory performance. In both age groups, memory complaints were strongly related to affective status, mainly to the severity of anxious symptomatology. Memory complaints were related to gender in younger subjects, and to subjective assessment of well-being in older.Conclusion Memory complaints of elderly do not appear basically different from memory complaints of younger subjects. They constitute a complex psychological symptom unlikely to be explained by a few variables and cannot be reduced to the subjective counterpart of memory performance decline associated with age. Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
Research studies focusing on the psychometric properties of the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) with psychiatric and nonpsychiatric samples were reviewed for the years 1961 through June, 1986. A meta-analysis of the BDI's internal consistency estimates yielded a mean coefficient alpha of 0.86 for psychiatric patients and 0.81 for nonpsychiatric subjects. The concurrent validitus of the BDI with respect to clinical ratings and the Hamilton Psychiatric Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD) were also high. The mean correlations of the BDI samples with clinical ratings and the HRSD were 0. 72 and 0.73, respectively, for psychiatric patients. With nonpsychiatric subjects, the mean correlations of the BDI with clinical ratings and the HRSD were 0.60 and 0.74, respectively. Recent evidence indicates that the BDI discriminates subtypes of depression and differentiates depression from anxiety.
Article
The Symptom Check-List-90 (SCL-90) is a widely used psychiatric questionnaire which has not yet been validated in Finland. We investigated the utility of the translated version of the SCL-90 in the Finnish population, and set community norms for it. The internal consistency of the original subscales was checked and found to be good. Discriminant function analysis, based on the nine original subscales, showed that the power of the SCL-90 to discriminate between patients and the community is good. Factor analysis of the items of the questionnaire yielded a very strong unrotated first factor, suggesting that a general factor may be present. This together with the fact that high intercorrelations were found between the nine original subscales suggests that the instrument is not multidimensional. The SCL-90 may be useful in a research setting as an instrument for measuring the change in symptomatic distress, or as a screening instrument. The American community norms should be used with caution, as the Finnish community sample scored consistently higher on all subscales.
Article
Few brief self-report memory questionnaires are available, and non has been well validated. We designed a brief questionnaire, the MAC-Q, to assess age-related memory decline. Validity and reliability of the MAC-Q were assessed in 232 subjects meeting diagnostic criteria for age-associated memory impairment (AAMI). Concurrent validity of the MAC-Q was supported by a significant correlation (r = .41, p < .001) with a lengthy, well-validated memory questionnaire. Multiple regression analysis indicated that memory test scores were significant predictors of MAC-Q scores. MAC-Q scores were not predicted by Hamilton Depression Scale scores, suggesting that memory complaint in AAMI is not related to affective status. Internal consistency and test-retest reliability of the MAC-Q were satisfactory. Our data support the validity and reliability of the MAC-Q, a new brief memory questionnaire. The MAC-Q is of particular relevance to the assessment of AAMI, but should also prove useful in any clinical or research setting requiring a brief index of memory complaint.
Article
Memory complaints and memory deficits were investigated in 206 consecutively admitted psychiatric inpatients at the University of Iowa Psychiatric Hospital. Forty-five percent of patients over age 60 years and 29% of patients less than 60 years old had severe memory complaints. Patients with complaints of memory loss were no more likely than patients without such complaints to have a memory deficit. In patients over age 60 years, memory complaint was more common in depression than in dementing and amnestic disorders (73% v 43%), while in younger patients memory complaint was slightly more common in dementing and amnestic disorders than in depression (57% v 41%). Increasing age was significantly correlated with increasing likelihood of memory complaint for depressed patients but not for nondepressed patients. As a result of these findings, memory complaint was found to be a statistically significant marker for depression in the elderly (sensitivity = 73%, specificity = 75%) but not in younger patients. Our results confirm the clinical observation that memory complaints are a useful marker for depressed states in the elderly.
Article
Subjective impairment of memory and concentration is a frequent complaint in sufferers from chronic fatigue. To study this, 65 general practice attenders identified as having chronic fatigue were administered a structured psychiatric interview and a brief screening battery of cognitive tests. Subjective cognitive impairment was strongly related to psychiatric disorder, especially depressed mood, but not fatigue, anxiety, or objective performance. Simple tests of attention and concentration showed some impairment but this was influenced by both fatigue and depression. Subjects with high levels of fatigue performed less well on a memory task requiring cognitive effort, even in the absence of depression. There was no evidence for mental fatiguability. The relationship between depression, fatigue, and cognitive function requires further research.
Article
Verbal learning and memory of 56 adults with newly diagnosed partial epilepsy and no other known brain pathology were compared with memory performance of a normal control group. Memory was evaluated with a list learning test and with recall of logical prose under both immediate and delayed recall conditions. The patients and the controls did not differ in immediate and delayed recall of logical prose. Also learning and immediate recall of the word list was comparable in both groups. After delay the patients recalled fewer words than the control group (P < 0.001), and the percent retention of words was lower in the patients (P < 0.001). The patients with newly diagnosed epilepsy more frequently exhibited mild verbal memory dysfunction as shown in delayed recall of word list. Moderate memory impairment is seen in a group of patients who have deficits in immediate and delayed memory. Follow-up is needed to find out whether patients with memory deficits at the time of diagnosis are those who develop intractable chronic epilepsy.
Article
Many, especially elderly people, are worried about their diminishing memory. In order to be able to improve health education activities about forgetfulness and aging processes, nearly 2000 healthy Dutch people, aged 25-85 years, participated in a postal survey into the determinants of subjective forgetfulness. As expected, there was a systematic increase in the prevalence of forgetfulness with age. The relatively high prevalence of forgetfulness in the young (29%) and middle-aged groups (34%) was unexpected. Besides age, the occurrence of dementia in a close relative appeared to be a strong predictor of people's subjective forgetfulness. Furthermore, people who felt more in control of their memory functioning reported less forgetfulness. Younger people ascribed their forgetfulness mostly to external causes (stress, concentration) and older people to internal causes (age, retardation). Eleven percent of all forgetful people were interested in an intervention for their memory complaints. In this group, education (37%), memory training (29%), and medication (12%) were the preferred interventions. No differences were found between older and younger respondents.
Article
Our aim was to study the associations between life satisfaction and treatment factors and how depression affects these associations among patients with schizophrenia (n=403), major depression (n=349) and anxiety disorder (n=139) from a defined area. Treatment satisfaction and compliance were high, but life satisfaction was low regardless of diagnostic group. Patients with schizophrenia recorded better life satisfaction than patients with the other disorders. There were few independent associations between life satisfaction and treatment factors. Fortunately, factors amenable to treatment intervention, such as depression, problem-solving ability and social support, were independently related to life satisfaction in every diagnostic group. Depression decreased these associations significantly only in patients with schizophrenia. Life satisfaction and treatment satisfaction should be included as separate variables in treatment outcome studies.
Article
Mild cognitive impairment is found in many cases of depression, and it is mostly assumed to improve during the time course of depression remission. Recent data question the reversibility of low cognitive test performance in depression. The aim of this study is to determine the degree of reversibility and the proportion of patients who will not demonstrate reversibility of cognitive dysfunction. Consecutive inpatients suffering from depression (N=102) were investigated and N=82 matched control subjects. N=57 of the patients were diagnosed as major depression according to DSM-IV. A total of N=67 could be retested after remission of depression (N=32 of the patients with major depression) and a matched control group (N=62). Neuropsychological tests were applied in a test session which avoids the effects of fatigue in the patients by the short duration of strenuous tests. For most neuropsychological tests an impaired performance in the depressed patients was found. About one third of the depression subjects performed in an impaired level in tests of averbal memory and verbal fluency (below 5th percentile). In the follow-up investigation, a slight improvement in performance could be assessed for both the depression and the control group, which was, however, attributed to a general test training effect. No normalization of cognitive test performance was found in spite of complete recovery of the affective symptoms. No correlation between the duration of the disease before the index episode or number of episodes and cognitive deficits could be found. The data of the neuropsychological deficits of depressed patients, which are stable in the time course of the affective disorder, may indicate that these patients may suffer from comorbidity of both depression and mild cognitive disorder. The findings are discussed as 1) indicating only a minor impact of the depressed mood on the cognitive performance and 2) they are consistent with a role of brain lesions which have been reported in several studies in a subgroup of depression.
Article
To review studies that have reported on the prevalence of memory complaints and the relationship between memory complaints and impairment or decline (dementia) in elderly individuals. All publications in the English language relating to memory complaints, memory impairment, cognitive disorder and dementia in MEDLINE, PSYCHLIT and EMBASE computerized databases, together with a search of relevant citations. The prevalence of memory complaints, defined as everyday memory problems, shows a large variation of approximately 25 - 50%. A high age, female gender and a low level of education are generally associated with a high prevalence of memory complaints. In community-based samples of elderly subjects an association has been found between memory complaints and memory impairment, after adjustment for depressive symptomatology. Memory complaints predict dementia after a follow-up of at least 2 years, in particular in those with mild cognitive impairment, defined as Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) > 23. Memory complaints in highly educated elderly subjects may be predictive of dementia even when there is no indication of cognitive impairment on short cognitive screen tests. The shift in methodology which is noticeable in the recently published major studies is discussed as a possible explanation for the established association between memory complaints and decline in memory (or dementia) in elderly subjects. Three methodological factors, in particular, are responsible for the results: community-based sampling, longitudinal design and the treatment of variables such as depression, cognitive impairment and level of education. Memory complaints in elderly people should no longer be considered merely as an innocent age-related phenomenon or a symptom of depression. Instead, these complaints deserve to be taken seriously, at least as a possible early sign of dementia.
Article
The aim of this study was to examine the factor structure and the validity of the Finnish version of the 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20). As part of the Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort Project, the TAS-20 was presented to a sample of 5034 31-year old persons. A confirmatory factor analysis showed that the three-factor model, earlier established with the original TAS-20, was in agreement with the Finnish version of the scale. Three criteria of goodness-of-fit met the standards for adequacy of fit. For the total scale, internal reliability (Cronbach's alpha) was 0.83 and for the three subscales (factors 1, 2, and 3) it was 0.81, 0.77, and 0.66, respectively. Two- and one-factor models for TAS-20 were also examined, but the other models did not perform as well as the three-factor model. The factor model also worked well with a sample of 516 students with a mean age of 24.8 years. In conclusion, the TAS-20 scale is useful in the Finnish version, too.
Article
The objective is to investigate whether memory complaints in older persons without manifest cognitive decline are associated with depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, physical health and personality characteristics. Furthermore, it is investigated whether personality characteristics have a modifying effect on the association of memory complaints with depressive and anxiety symptoms and physical health. The study was carried out using the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA). Participants were examined during three observation cycles covering a period of 6 years. They were asked about memory complaints, and were examined on cognitive functioning, physical health, depressive and anxiety symptoms, and the personality characteristics: mastery, perceived self-efficacy and neuroticism. The data were analysed by means of Generalised Estimating Equations (GEE). Memory complaints were associated with physical health problems, depressive and anxiety symptoms, low feelings of mastery, low perceived self-efficacy and high neuroticism. The associations between memory complaints and physical health problems, depressive and anxiety symptoms were significantly stronger in people with high mastery, high perceived self-efficacy and low neuroticism. We used a conservative criterion for cognitive decline and therefore we might have included some people with cognitive decline during our follow-up. In order to minimise selection bias we included actual cognitive performance in our regression models. Our findings suggest that when older persons complain about their memory and do not show actual cognitive decline, one should be aware that these complaints might reflect psycho-affective or health problems.