Congratulations to Drs. Okun, and Bowers on the publication of “Symptom Dimensions of Depression and Apathy and Their Relationship With Cognition in Parkinson’s Disease” in the October issue of Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society.
Objectives: Both depression and apathy, alone and in combination, have been shown to negatively affect cognition in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, the influence of specific symptom dimensions of depression and apathy on cognition is not well understood. The current study investigated the relationship between symptom dimensions of depression and apathy, based on factors identified in Kirsch-Darrow et al. (2011), and memory and executive function in PD. Methods: A sample of 138 non-demented individuals with PD (mean age=64.51±7.43 years) underwent neuropsychological testing and completed the Beck Depression Inventory, 2nd Edition, and Apathy Scale. Separate hierarchical regression models examined the relationship between symptom dimensions of depression and apathy (“pure” depressive symptoms, “pure” apathy, loss of interest/pleasure [anhedonia], and somatic symptoms) and three cognitive domain composites: immediate verbal memory, delayed verbal memory, and executive function. Results: After adjusting for general cognitive status and the influence of the other symptom dimensions, “pure” depressive symptoms were negatively associated with the delayed verbal memory composite (p<.034) and somatic symptoms were positively associated with the executive function composite (p<.026). No symptom dimensions were significantly related to the immediate verbal memory composite. Conclusions: Findings suggest that specific mood symptoms are associated with delayed verbal memory and executive function performance in non-demented patients with PD. Further research is needed to better understand possible mechanisms through which specific symptom dimensions of depression and apathy are associated with cognition in PD. (JINS, 2017, 23, 1–14)