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Educational Activities

Components of Cognitive Functioning and Their Measurement

Article Abstract

Cognitive functioning is a broad construct involving attention, immediate and delayed memory, cognitive speed, and executive functioning. Impaired cognition is a diagnostic symptom of major depressive disorder (MDD) and hinders the restoration of full psychosocial functioning in patients with MDD. Research has shown that residual cognitive impairment remains in many patients despite successful treatment of mood symptoms. Therefore, clinicians must be able to measure patients’ levels of cognitive impairment and track cognitive function throughout the course of treatment. However, when assessing cognition in patients with depression, many clinicians rely on patient history interviews rather than on accurate and reliable tests. Appropriate scales that are sensitive to changes in cognition and have been validated for use in patients with MDD, such as the MGH CPFQ and the PDQ, should be used in clinical practice to track cognitive function in patients with depression.

From the Clinical Trials Network and Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

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Find more articles on this and other psychiatry and CNS topics:
The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders

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Volume: 76

Quick Links: Cognition , Neurologic and Neurocognitive

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