Executive function in patients with late onset depression


  • R. Osorio Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Alzheimer’s Project Research Unit
  • B. García de Lózar Brief Hospitalization Unit Hospital Provincial Virgen de la Misericordia Toledo (Spain)
  • I. Ramos Instituto Psiquiatría y Salud Mental Hospital Clínico San Carlos Madrid (Spain)
  • L. Agüera Psychiatry Department Hospital Universitario 12 de Octubre Psychiatry Department Universidad Complutense Madrid (Spain)


Vascular depression, Executive functions, Elderly depression, Major depression, Cognitive functions, Affective disorder


Background. Depression is the most frequent psychiatric disorder in the elderly. Some authors consider late onset depression as a partially different phenomenological entity from that of the adult depression. The reason is its frequent association to dysexecutive cognitive impairment and cardiovascular risk factors.

Objective. This study aimed to analyze cognitive performance in neuropsychological screening tests in a group of late onset depression patients and non-depressed older adults.

Methods. Data was analyzed from 20 adults a 60 years old with late-life depression in partial or total remission and 10 individuals with the same characteristics but without previous affective disorders. Data was gathered on age, gender, education level, medical and psychiatric history and pharmacological history. Overall cognitive functions, executive performances, depressive symptoms, vascular risk factors and comorbid medical illness were measured using standardized test such as the Mini-mental State Examination (MMSE), Executive Interview (EXIT-S), Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), Cumulative Illness Rating Scale (CIRS). The differences between groups were analyzed with Analysis of Variance (ANOVA).

Results. Patients with late-onset depression had statistically significant greater executive difficulties regarding the control group on the EXIT-S scale.

Conclusions. Executive dysfunction can be considered a biological marker of late-life depression, although studies in larger samples of patients are needed.



How to Cite

Osorio, R., et al. “Executive Function in Patients With Late Onset Depression”. Actas Españolas De Psiquiatría, vol. 37, no. 4, July 2009, pp. 196-9, https://actaspsiquiatria.es/index.php/actas/article/view/852.