Enhancing memory in late-life depression: the effects of a combined psychoeducation and cognitive training program

Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2011 Mar;19(3):240-8. doi: 10.1097/JGP.0b013e3181dba587.


Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of a multifactorial cognitive training (CT) program for older people with a lifetime history of depressive disorder.

Methods: This was a single-blinded waitlist control design. The study was conducted in the Healthy Brain Ageing Clinic, a specialist outpatient clinic at the Brain & Mind Research Institute, Sydney, Australia. Forty-one participants (mean age = 64.8 years, sd = 8.5) with a lifetime history of major depression were included. They were stabilized on medication and had depressive symptoms in the normal to mild range. The intervention encompassed both psychoeducation and CT. Each component was 1-hour in duration and was delivered in a group format over a 10-week period. Psychoeducation was multifactorial, was delivered by health professionals and targeted cognitive strategies, as well depression, anxiety, sleep, vascular risk factors, diet and exercise. CT was computer-based and was conducted by Clinical Neuropsychologists. Baseline and follow-up neuropsychological assessments were conducted by Psychologists who were blinded to group allocation. The primary outcome was memory whilst secondary outcomes included other aspects of cognition and disability.

Results: CT was associated with significant improvements in visual and verbal memory corresponding to medium to large effect sizes.

Conclusion: CT may be a viable secondary prevention technique for late-life depression, a group who are at risk of further cognitive decline and progression to dementia.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cognition Disorders / prevention & control
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / complications
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Psychotherapy, Group / methods
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Waiting Lists