Differentiation of the pattern of cognitive impairment between depressed and non-depressed patients with dementia living in long-term care facilities

Aging Ment Health. 2010 Apr;14(3):293-302. doi: 10.1080/13607860903191390.


Objective: The principal objective of this study is to examine the cognitive profile of patients with dementia plus (D+ group) and without (D- group) concomitant depression.

Method: The D+ (N = 61) and D- (N = 89) patients were recruited in long-term care facilities. The depression status of the participants was determined using the Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia. Cognitive functioning was assessed using the Hierarchic Dementia Scale (HDS).

Results: The analyses first indicated that on the total HDS score, patients of the D+ group exhibited more severe cognitive impairment compared to those of the D- group. Further analyses revealed that the difference between groups pertained to perception, attention/memory, calculation, and language functions. Moreover, secondary analyses revealed that the cognitive deficits of the D+ group were associated with behavioral (agitation and retardation, in particular), but not with mood-related, symptoms of depression. Interestingly, ideational symptoms of depression (suicide and self-depreciation, in particular) were positively correlated with cognitive impairment.

Conclusion: These findings add to those of previous studies showing that D+ and D- patients differ not only regarding the presence or absence of depressive symptoms, but also regarding cognitive manifestations. This study thus reinforces the need to detect and treat accurately depression in dementia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cognition Disorders / complications*
  • Dementia / complications*
  • Dementia / psychology*
  • Depression / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Long-Term Care*
  • Male
  • Memory
  • Perception
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales