Altered hippocampal function with preserved cognitive performance in treatment-naive major depressive disorder
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The hippocampus is implicated in the pathophysiology of major depressive disorder (MDD), with evidence that morphological changes occur with disease progression. It was hypothesized that treatment-naive patients with depression would show performance deficits in hippocampus-dependent memory trials, with concurrent hippocampal activation deficits on functional magnetic resonance imaging, compared with control participants. Thirteen treatment-naive patients with MDD and 13 control participants completed a hippocampus-dependent memory functional magnetic resonance imaging process-dissociation task. On behavioural measures of habit memory and guessing, there were no significant differences between groups. Functional magnetic resonance imaging analysis indicated that compared with the control group, the MDD group showed increased activation in the parahippocampal gyrus and hippocampus on habit memory and nonitem trials. These alterations in hippocampal functioning with preserved cognitive performance on a test of hippocampus-dependent memory in MDD may be indicative of a compensatory mechanism.
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