Smell test predicts performance on delayed recall memory test in elderly with depression
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INTRODUCTION: Elderly with depression are at increased risk for cognitive dysfunction and dementia. Smell tests are correlated with performance on cognitive tests in the elderly and therefore might serve as a screening test for cognitive impairment in depressed elderly. PURPOSE: To assess the validity of the CC-SIT (Cross-Cultural Smell Identification Test) as a screening test for cognitive impairment in elderly with depression. METHODS: Forty-one patients, aged 60 and over, were assessed with the CC-SIT and CVLT (California Verbal Learning Test) after 3 months treatment of a Major Depressive Episode (DSM-IV) at the Day Hospital for Depression, Baycrest. Patients already diagnosed with dementia, or other psychiatric and neurological disorders, were excluded. Receiver Operating Characteristics (ROC) analysis was applied to assess the CC-SIT's accuracy in identifying individuals with impairment (2 SD below the mean for age and education or less) on CVLT delayed recall trials. RESULTS: Forty-one patients (33 women and eight men) were assessed. Mean age was 76.8 (SD: 6.5), mean HRSD scores before treatment was 22.0 (SD: 5.1). Nine patients had impairment on CVLT delayed recall measures. The area under the ROC curve was 0.776 (95% CI = 0.617-0.936). CONCLUSIONS: Our results support the use of the CC-SIT as a screening tool for cognitive impairment among elderly with depression as an indicator for the need of a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation. Replication with larger samples is necessary.
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