Post-stroke dementia and depression: frontosubcortical dysfunction as missing link?

Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 2007 Jan;22(1):1-8

GG Net, Department of Elderly Psychiatry, 7301 BD Apeldoorn, The Netherlands.

Objective: Testing the hypothesis that depressive symptoms in dementia reflect dysfunction in fronto-subcortical pathways.

Background: Both depression and dementia can be the result of vascular damage of the brain. The nature of the depressive symptomatology seems to be related to concommittant cognitive disturbances in that subjects show more so-called motivational symptoms of depression. These symptoms can be the result of frontal-subcortical dysfunction. It could be very helpful for clinical practice if these subjects could be identified by simple diagnostic procedures.

Methods: Associations were computed between measures of depressive symptoms and a set of neuropsychological tests in a sample of 54 subjects with a post-stroke dementia.

Results: Although we used an extensive set of neuropsychological tests, most subjects were able to participate only in a small part of them, because of disease severity. Our hypothesis was supported by a negative correlation between scores on the verbal semantic fluency task and the total numbers of motivational depressive symptoms. None of the neuropsychological tests was significantly related to the number of mood symptoms neither did they correlate with the total number of depressive symptoms.

Conclusion: This study gives further evidence for the assumption that motivational-based depressive symptoms partially originate from fronto-subcortical dysfunction.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/gps.1599DOI Listing
January 2007
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