Geriatric Disorders (DC Steffens, Section Editor)

Current Psychiatry Reports

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 280-288

Depression and Cognitive Impairment in Older Adults

  • Sara L. WeisenbachAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Michigan Medical SchoolGeriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center, VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System Email author 
  • , Laurie A. BooreAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Michigan Medical School
  • , Helen C. KalesAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Michigan Medical SchoolGeriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center, VA Ann Arbor Healthcare SystemCenter for Clinical Management Research, VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System

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Abstract

Late life depression (LLD) is a heterogeneous illness with high rates of treatment resistance. Cognitive impairment is common in the context of LLD, and LLD may be a prodromal symptom and/or potentially a risk factor for dementia. This manuscript reviews the most recent research into the cognitive deficits associated with LLD and risk of conversion to dementia in the context of LLD. We discuss potential moderators and mediators of cognitive deficits in LLD, including demographic and clinical variables, in addition to brain structure and function. Potential interventions for cognitive symptoms of LLD are reviewed. We conclude with a discussion of the broader implications of what is now known about LLD, and how this might be applied toward improved prognosis and models for effective treatment.

Keywords

Late life depression LLD Elderly Cognition Dementia Neuropsychological abnormalities Mechanisms of cognitive deficits Interventions for cognitive impairment Treatment resistance