A study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders concluded that there were no significant associations between changes in neurocognitive and work functioning measures in employed patients with major depressive disorder (MDD)

There have been limited data on the impact of depression-related cognitive dysfunction on work functioning. Researchers from the University of British Columbia aimed to examine the association between neurocognitive and work functioning in employed patients with MDD. 

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They enrolled 36 adult outpatients with MDD of at least moderate severity, defined as ≥23 on the Montgomery Asberg Depression Scale (MADRS), and with subjective cognitive complaints. Study patients completed neurocognitive tests (CNS Vital Signs computerized battery) and validated self-reports of their work functioning (LEAPS, HPQ) prior to and after 8 weeks of open-label treatment with flexibly-dosed desvenlafaxine 50mg–100mg/day. Neurocognitive tests and functional measures were examined using bivariate correlational and multiple regression analyses. 

An ANCOVA model was used to identify whether significant change in neurocognitive performance, defined as improvement of ≥1 standard deviation in the Neurocognition Index (NCI) from baseline to post-treatment was linked with improved outcomes.

The data showed patients had significant improvements in depressive symptom, neurocognitive, and work functioning measures after treatment with desvenlafaxine (eg, MADRS response 77%; MADRS remission 49%). Researchers found no significant correlations between changes in NCI or cognitive domain subscales and changes in MADRS, LEAPS, or HPQ scores. 

Patients that showed significant improvement in NCI scores (29%) had significantly greater improvement in clinical and work functioning outcomes vs. those without NCI improvement. 

Although there were no significant correlations between changes in neurocognitive and work functioning measure, improvement in neurocognitive functioning with desvenlafaxine was associated with greater improvement in both mood and occupational outcomes. “This suggests that addressing cognitive dysfunction may improve clinical and occupational outcomes in employed patients with MDD,” concluded study author Raymond W. Lam. Due to the complex nature of neurocognitive and work functioning in MDD, more studies are required, he added.

For more information visit jad-journal.com.