, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 211-233
Date: 06 Apr 2007

Cognitive Deficits in Depression and Functional Specificity of Regional Brain Activity

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The growing literature on cognitive deficits in depression is considered in light of regional brain activity as well as comorbid anxiety and life stressors. Cognitive impairments associated with depression are reviewed, with an emphasis on various aspects of executive function such as memory, attention, and problem-solving. These deficits are related to patterns of brain activity observed in prefrontal, anterior cingulate, and parietal cortices, as well as in subcortical regions. Evidence for the largely unexplored role of environmental stressors in depression and their impact on cognition and brain function is also examined, and promising avenues of additional research are noted. In addition to promoting interdisciplinary research, systematically assessing variables such as cognitive performance, comorbid anxiety, and relevant stressors may elucidate distinct patterns of brain function and cognition that could inform prevention and intervention.