Objective: To describe the influence of domains of cognition on remission and response of depression in an intervention trial among older primary care patients.
Methods: Twenty primary care practices were randomly assigned to Usual Care or to an Intervention consisting of a depression care manager offering algorithm-based care for depression. In all, 599 adults 60 years and older with a depression diagnosis were included in these analyses. Depression severity and remission of depression were assessed by the 24-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale. The Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) was our global measure of cognitive function. Verbal memory was assessed with the memory subscale of the Dementia Rating Scale. Attention was measured with the digit span from the Weschler Adult Intelligence Test. Response inhibition, one of the executive functions, was assessed with the Stroop Color-Word test.
Results: The intervention was associated with improved remission and response rates regardless of cognitive impairment. Response inhibition as measured by the Stroop Color-Word test appeared to significantly modify the intervention versus usual care difference in remission and response at 4 months. Patients in the poorest performance quartile at baseline on the Stroop Color-Word test in the Intervention Condition were more likely to achieve remission of depression at 4 months than comparable patients in Usual Care [odds ratio (OR) = 17.76, 95% Confidence Interval (CI), 3.06, 103.1].
Conclusions: Depressed older adults in primary care with executive dysfunction have low remission and response rates when receiving usual care but benefit from depression care management.