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1.  The Impact of Depression on Dual Tasking Among Patients With High Fall Risk 
Depression predicts fall risk among older adults, and this relationship may be partially explained by depression-associated executive dysfunction, relevant to navigating demanding environments. This pilot study examined timed stepping accuracy under simple and complex dual-task conditions, using an instrumented walkway based on the Trail Making Test. Participants were balance-impaired older adults, either with (n = 8; major depressive disorder [MDD]) or without (n = 8; nondepressed [ND]) MDD. After accounting for comfortable gait speed and age, the MDD group was significantly slower than the ND group on the walkway with the highest cognitive demand and demonstrated greater dual-task cost, both of which were correlated with performance on traditional measures of executive functioning. No group differences were observed on the walkway with the least cognitive demand. Balance-impaired older adults with MDD demonstrate increased stepping accuracy time under cognitively demanding conditions, reflecting executive dysfunction and an additional contribution to increased fall risk.
PMCID: PMC3417319  PMID: 21705740
late life depression; dual task; gait
2.  Gender Specific Disruptions in Emotion Processing in Younger Adults with Depression 
Depression and anxiety  2009;26(2):182-189.
One of the principal theories regarding the biological basis of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) implicates a dysregulation of emotion processing circuitry. Gender differences in how emotions are processed and relative experience with emotion processing might help to explain some of the disparities in the prevalence of MDD between women and men. The current study sought to explore how gender and depression status relate to emotion processing.
This study employed a 2 (MDD status) × 2 (gender) factorial design to explore differences in classifications of posed facial emotional expressions (N = 151).
For errors, there was an interaction between gender and depression status. Women with MDD made more errors than did non-depressed women and men with MDD, particularly for fearful and sad stimuli (ps < .02), which they were likely to misinterpret as angry (ps < .04). There was also an interaction of diagnosis and gender for response cost for negative stimuli, with significantly greater interference from negative faces present in women with MDD compared with non-depressed women (p = .01). Men with MDD, conversely, performed similarly to control men (p = .61).
These results provide novel and intriguing evidence that depression in younger adults (< 35 years) differentially disrupts emotion processing in women as compared to men. This interaction could be driven by neurobiological and social learning mechanisms, or interactions between them, and may underlie differences in the prevalence of depression in women and men.
PMCID: PMC3013355  PMID: 18800371
psychiatric disorders; affect perception; sex differences

Results 1-2 (2)