Cognitive Impairment in Major Depressive Disorder: Clinical Relevance, Biological Substrates, and Treatment Opportunities

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By: Juhie Ahme

Edited by: Dr. Roger S. McIntyre (Associate Editor: Danielle S. Cha)

Cognitive Impairment in Major Depressive Disorder: Clinical Relevance, Biological Substrates, and Treatment Opportunities is a comprehensive text written by leading researchers in the field of psychiatry across the globe. The text provides a cogent argument for the relevance of cognitive impairment among individuals affected by major depressive disorder (MDD), the topics discussed include but are not limited to, the implications of cognitive impairments among youth with MDD, the relevance of cognition in primary care of individuals with MDD, neurophysiological consequences of MDD on cognitive function, and novel treatment targets for cognitive impairment in mood disorders.  This work is among the first of its kind as it provides access to leading-edge research while simultaneously informing its readers of the importance of developing methods by which cognitive impairments can be recognized and treated in this vulnerable population.

The data presented not only provide us with a wealth of information regarding the various domains of cognition (e.g., attention, memory, information processing, executive function) that are significantly affected by MDD, but also force us to recognize the complexity of this heterogeneous disorder and strategies for tackling this most highly prevalent mental illness in a targeted and meaningful way. For example, the authors of the disparate chapters in the text indicate that there are distinct differences in the manner by which individuals with MDD may report experiencing cognitive impairments subjectively as compared to objectively (i.e., a high functioning professional with MDD reported experiencing significant cognitive impairments but performed exceptionally well on neuropsychological tests vs. a high functioning professional with MDD who reported experiencing no cognitive impairment but performed poorly on the neuropsychological tests). However, currently, no “gold-standard” for the evaluation of cognitive function exists for this clinical population. Therefore, this text clearly aims to stimulate a broader discussion of cognition, the way in which it is defined, measured, understood, treated, and perhaps enhanced. Taken together, this textbook provides a comprehensive review of the scientific literature of cognition in MDD and successfully communicates the urgency of pursuing this line of research to improve the lives of those affected.