Neural correlates of verbal recognition memory in obese adults with and without major depressive disorder
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BACKGROUND: Obesity and major depressive disorder (MDD) independently contribute to memory impairment. Little is known about shared neural mechanisms that may result in the cognitive impairment experienced by these populations. This study's aim was to determine how obesity impacts neural activity during a verbal recognition memory task in individuals both with and without MDD. METHODS: Functional magnetic resonance imaging was employed to examine whether differences in neural activation patterns would be seen across three groups during the Warrington's Recognition Memory Test. Three study groups are reported: 20 subjects with obesity but without MDD (bariatric controls), 23 subjects with past or current MDD and obesity, and 20 normal BMI controls (healthy controls). RESULTS: Three-group conjunction analyses indicated that overlapping neural regions were activated during both encoding and retrieval processes across all groups. However, second-level 2-group t-contrasts indicated that neural activation patterns differed when comparing healthy and bariatric controls, and when comparing bariatric controls and bariatric MDD participants. DISCUSSION: Results indicate that obesity in conjunction with MDD confers a subtle impact on neural functioning. Given high rates of obesity and MDD comorbidity, and the role of cognition on ability to return to premorbid level of functioning, this association should inform treatment decisions.
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