The effect of anxiety on cognition in older adult inpatients with depression: results from a multicenter observational study.

Martinussen LJ , Šaltytė Benth J , Almdahl IS , Borza T , Selbæk G , Mcpherson B , Korsnes MS
Late-life depression is associated with reduced cognitive function beyond normal age-related cognitive deficits. As comorbid anxiety frequently occur in late-life depression, this study aimed to examine the association between anxiety symptoms and cognitive function among older inpatients treated for depression. We hypothesized that there would be an overall additive effect of comorbid anxiety symptoms on dysfunction across cognitive domains. The study included 142 patients treated for late-life depression in hospital, enrolled in the Prognosis of Depression in the Elderly study. Anxiety symptoms were measured at admission using the anxiety subscale of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Patients completed cognitive tasks at admission and discharge. Linear mixed and generalized linear mixed models were estimated to investigate the effect of anxiety, on continuous and categorical cognitive scores, respectively, while controlling for depression. Anxiety severity at admission was not associated with performance in any of the cognitive domains. Patients with more symptoms of anxiety at admission demonstrated a significant improvement in immediate recall during the hospital stay. Patients with a score above cutoff indicating clinically significant symptoms on the anxiety subscale performed better on general cognitive function, as measured by the Mini Mental Status Examination at admission, than those below cutoff for anxiety. In conclusion, comorbid anxiety symptoms had no additive effect on cognitive dysfunction in late-life depression in our sample of inpatients.

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