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Neurocognitive clusters: A pilot study of young people with affective disorders in an inpatient facility.

Tickell, Ashleigh M; Scott, Elizabeth M; Davenport, Tracey; Iorfino, Frank; Ospina-Pinillos, Laura; Harel, Kate; Parker, Lisa; Hickie, Ian B; Hermens, Daniel F.
J Affect Disord; 242: 80-86, 2019 01 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30172228


There is growing evidence to support the need for personalised intervention in the early stages of a major psychiatric illness, as well as the clear delineation of subgroups in psychiatric disorders based on cognitive impairment. Affective disorders are often accompanied by neurocognitive deficits; however a lack of research among young adult inpatients highlights the need to assess the utility of cognitive testing in this population.


A computerised cognitive battery was administered to 50 current inpatient young adults (16-30 years; 75% female) with an affective disorder. Patients also completed a computerised self-report questionnaire (to measure demographics and clinical features) that included items evaluating subjective impressions of their cognition.


Hierarchical cluster analysis determined two neurocognitive subgroups: cluster 1 (n = 16) showed more severe impairments in sustained attention and memory as well as higher anxiety levels, compared to their peers in cluster 2 (n = 30) who showed the most impaired attentional switching. Across the sample, poor sustained attention was significantly correlated with higher levels of current anxiety and depressive symptoms, whereas poor verbal memory was significantly associated with increased psychological distress.


This study has a relatively small sample size (due to it being a pilot/feasibility study). Furthermore, future studies should aim to assess inpatient samples compared to community care samples, as well as healthy controls, on a larger scale.


The findings suggest neurocognitive profiles are important in understanding phenotypes within young people with severe affective disorders. With clear subgroups based on cognitive impairment being demonstrated, the clinical utility and use of new and emerging technologies is warranted in such inpatients facilities. This pilot/feasibility study has strengthened the utility of cognitive screening as standard clinical care in an inpatient unit.