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Personality traits, cognition and volumetric MRI changes in elderly patients with early-onset depression: A 2-year follow-up study.
Publication types: Journal ArticlePublication Status: ppublish
Previous studies revealed personality changes in elderly patients with early-onset depression (EOD) that persist in euthymic stages. However, depression in older patients is a complex disorder that may affect not only personality, but also cognition and brain structure. To address this issue, a cross-sectional comparison and 2-year follow-up of 28 EOD elderly patients and 48 healthy controls included detailed neurocognitive assessment, estimates of brain volumes in limbic areas and white matter hyperintensities, as well as evaluation of the Five Factor Model of personality, in a remitted mood state. Results revealed that cognitive performances as well as brain volumes were preserved in EOD patients both at baseline and at follow-up. The increased Neuroticism factor and Anxiety facet scores as well as the decreased Warmth and Positive Emotions facet scores found at baseline reached the level of healthy controls after 2years. Only the Depression facet scores remained significantly higher in EOD patients compared to controls upon follow-up. Results were independent of depressive relapse since baseline (25% of patients). These findings suggest that both cognitive performances and brain volumes show long-term preservation in older EOD patients. In contrast, the depression-related personality facet might be a trait like marker that persists in the long-term evolution of this disorder.
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