Mild depression levels alter self-perceptions of future but not the recall of verbal information in elderly inpatients.
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In order to determine the correlation of levels of symptoms of depression and rate of forgetting and perception of the future, a total of 68 elderly inpatients without Major Depression admitted to a general hospital were evaluated by: 1) the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS), 2) the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), 3) a questionnaire on future self-perceptions (FSPQ), and 4) a test on the recall of verbal information to estimate the rate of forgetting. They were grouped according to the clinical prognosis of their disease (good, N = 48, 25 women, 23 men, age mean +/- SD, 68 +/- 6.64; poor, N = 20, 10 women, 10 men, age mean +/- SD, 69 +/- 6.68) which correlates with morbidity-mortality rates (low/high). There was no relationship between mild levels of signs and symptoms of depression and increased forgetting. However, levels of depression were negatively correlated to the score of future perceptions (B = -0.18, beta = -0.29, P = 0.032). Patients with diseases with good prognosis did not present different levels of depression, rates of forgetting or future expectations from those of patients with poor prognosis (high mortality rates). However, individuals with negative FSPQ scores showed significantly higher MADRS scores, independent of the type of disease. These data suggest that the modifications in the processing of information related to the future are present in clinical patients without Major Depression but they occur within a small range of very mild signs and symptoms of depression.
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