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author:("kalaska, Hely")
1.  Association between Neurocognitive Impairment and the Short Allele of the 5-HTT Promoter Polymorphism in Depression: A Pilot Study 
Psychiatry Journal  2012;2013:849346.
Depression has been shown to be associated with cognitive deficits in various cognitive domains. However, it is still unclear which factors contribute to cognitive impairment. The objective of this study was to find out whether a functional polymorphism in the promoter region of the serotonin transporter (5-HTTLPR) gene is associated with the impairment of cognitive functioning among depressed patients. In a pilot study, a sample of 19 patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and 19 healthy controls was investigated with an extensive psychiatric and neuropsychological examination. All participants were genotyped for 5-HTTLPR. Depressed patients with the short allele of the 5-HTT promoter region exhibited inferior cognitive performance compared to patients with the long allele polymorphism. In healthy controls, no association between genotype and cognitive performance was found. The result suggests that in MDD patients with the short allele of the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism the vulnerability to cognitive impairment is increased compared to MDD patients without the short allele inheritance. These preliminary findings need to be confirmed in a larger cohort of MDD patients.
PMCID: PMC3839656  PMID: 24286069
2.  Do drug treatment variables predict cognitive performance in multidrug-treated opioid-dependent patients? A regression analysis study 
Cognitive deficits and multiple psychoactive drug regimens are both common in patients treated for opioid-dependence. Therefore, we examined whether the cognitive performance of patients in opioid-substitution treatment (OST) is associated with their drug treatment variables.
Opioid-dependent patients (N = 104) who were treated either with buprenorphine or methadone (n = 52 in both groups) were given attention, working memory, verbal, and visual memory tests after they had been a minimum of six months in treatment. Group-wise results were analysed by analysis of variance. Predictors of cognitive performance were examined by hierarchical regression analysis.
Buprenorphine-treated patients performed statistically significantly better in a simple reaction time test than methadone-treated ones. No other significant differences between groups in cognitive performance were found. In each OST drug group, approximately 10% of the attention performance could be predicted by drug treatment variables. Use of benzodiazepine medication predicted about 10% of performance variance in working memory. Treatment with more than one other psychoactive drug (than opioid or BZD) and frequent substance abuse during the past month predicted about 20% of verbal memory performance.
Although this study does not prove a causal relationship between multiple prescription drug use and poor cognitive functioning, the results are relevant for psychosocial recovery, vocational rehabilitation, and psychological treatment of OST patients. Especially for patients with BZD treatment, other treatment options should be actively sought.
PMCID: PMC3551729  PMID: 23121989
Opioid-dependence; Opioid agonist therapy; Pharmacotherapy; Psychotropic drugs; Neurocognitive performance; Neuropsychological testing
3.  Cognitive functioning in opioid-dependent patients treated with buprenorphine, methadone, and other psychoactive medications: stability and correlates 
In many but not in all neuropsychological studies buprenorphine-treated opioid-dependent patients have shown fewer cognitive deficits than patients treated with methadone. In order to examine if hypothesized cognitive advantage of buprenorphine in relation to methadone is seen in clinical patients we did a neuropsychological follow-up study in unselected sample of buprenorphine- vs. methadone-treated patients.
In part I of the study fourteen buprenorphine-treated and 12 methadone-treated patients were tested by cognitive tests within two months (T1), 6-9 months (T2), and 12 - 17 months (T3) from the start of opioid substitution treatment. Fourteen healthy controls were examined at similar intervals. Benzodiazepine and other psychoactive comedications were common among the patients. Test results were analyzed with repeated measures analysis of variance and planned contrasts. In part II of the study the patient sample was extended to include 36 patients at T2 and T3. Correlations between cognitive functioning and medication, substance abuse, or demographic variables were then analyzed.
In part I methadone patients were inferior to healthy controls tests in all tests measuring attention, working memory, or verbal memory. Buprenorphine patients were inferior to healthy controls in the first working memory task, the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Task and verbal memory. In the second working memory task, the Letter-Number Sequencing, their performance improved between T2 and T3. In part II only group membership (buprenorphine vs. methadone) correlated significantly with attention performance and improvement in the Letter-Number Sequencing. High frequency of substance abuse in the past month was associated with poor performance in the Letter-Number Sequencing.
The results underline the differences between non-randomized and randomized studies comparing cognitive performance in opioid substitution treated patients (fewer deficits in buprenorphine patients vs. no difference between buprenorphine and methadone patients, respectively). Possible reasons for this are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3176473  PMID: 21854644
4.  Short cognitive behavioral therapy and cognitive training for adults with ADHD – a randomized controlled pilot study 
In clinical practice, a growing need exists for effective non-pharmacological treatments of adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Here, we present the results of a pilot study of 10 adults with ADHD participating in short-term individual cognitive- behavioral therapy (CBT), 9 adults participating in cognitive training (CT), and 10 controls. Self-report questionnaires, independent evaluations, and computerized neurocognitive testing were collected before and after the treatments to evaluate change. There were distinctive pre-hypotheses regarding the treatments, and therefore the statistical comparisons were conducted in pairs: CBT vs control, CT vs control, and CBT vs CT. In a combined ADHD symptom score based on self-reports, 6 participants in CBT, 2 in CT and 2 controls improved. Using independent evaluations, improvement was found in 7 of the CBT participants, 2 of CT participants and 3 controls. There was no treatment-related improvement in cognitive performance. Thus, in the CBT group, some encouraging improvement was seen, although not as clearly as in previous research with longer interventions. In the CT group, there was improvement in the trained tasks but no generalization of the improvement to the tasks of the neurocognitive testing, the self- report questionnaires, or the independent evaluations. These preliminary results warrant further studies with more participants and with more elaborate cognitive testing.
PMCID: PMC2938293  PMID: 20856608
CBT; attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; cognitive testing; non-pharmacological treatments
5.  Corpus callosum atrophy is associated with mental slowing and executive deficits in subjects with age‐related white matter hyperintensities: the LADIS Study 
Previous research has indicated that corpus callosum atrophy is associated with global cognitive decline in neurodegenerative diseases, but few studies have investigated specific cognitive functions.
To investigate the role of regional corpus callosum atrophy in mental speed, attention and executive functions in subjects with age‐related white matter hyperintensities (WMH).
In the Leukoaraiosis and Disability Study, 567 subjects with age‐related WMH were examined with a detailed neuropsychological assessment and quantitative magnetic resonance imaging. The relationships of the total corpus callosum area and its subregions with cognitive performance were analysed using multiple linear regression, controlling for volume of WMH and other confounding factors.
Atrophy of the total corpus callosum area was associated with poor performance in tests assessing speed of mental processing—namely, trail making A and Stroop test parts I and II. Anterior, but not posterior, corpus callosum atrophy was associated with deficits of attention and executive functions as reflected by the symbol digit modalities and digit cancellation tests, as well as by the subtraction scores in the trail making and Stroop tests. Furthermore, semantic verbal fluency was related to the total corpus callosum area and the isthmus subregion.
Corpus callosum atrophy seems to contribute to cognitive decline independently of age, education, coexisting WMH and stroke. Anterior corpus callosum atrophy is related to the frontal‐lobe‐mediated executive functions and attention, whereas overall corpus callosum atrophy is associated with the slowing of processing speed.
PMCID: PMC2117833  PMID: 17028118
6.  Memory function in opioid-dependent patients treated with methadone or buprenorphine along with benzodiazepine: longitudinal change in comparison to healthy individuals 
Opioid-substitution treatment (OST) for opioid dependence (OD) has proven effective in retaining patients in treatment and reducing illegal opiate abuse and crime. Consequently, the World Health Organization (WHO) has listed the opioid agonists methadone and buprenorphine as essential drugs for OD that should be available worldwide. In many areas of the world, OD is often associated with concomitant benzodiazepine (BZD) dependence and abuse, which complicates treatment. However, possible changes in the cognitive functioning of these patients are not well-known. The present study is the first to examine longitudinal stability of memory function in OST patients with BZD use, thus providing a new tool for health policy authorities in evaluating the usefulness of OST.
Within the first two months (T1) and between 6–9 months (T2) after OST admission, we followed the working memory, immediate verbal memory, and memory consolidation of 13 methadone- and 15 buprenorphine- or buprenorphine/naloxone-treated patients with BZD dependence or abuse disorder. The results were compared to those of fifteen normal comparison participants. All participants also completed a self-reported memory complaint questionnaire on both occasions.
Both patient groups performed statistically significantly worse than normal comparison participants in working memory at time points T1 and T2. In immediate verbal memory, as measured by list learning at T1, patients scored lower than normal comparison participants. Both patient groups reported significantly more subjective memory problems than normal comparison participants. Patients with more memory complaints recalled fewer items at T2 from the verbal list they had learned at T1 than those patients with fewer memory complaints. The significance of the main analyses remained nearly the same when the statistical tests were performed without buprenorphine-only patients leaving 12 patients to buprenorphine/naloxone group.
Working memory may be persistently affected in OST patients with BZD use. A high number of memory complaints among OST patients with BZD use may indicate memory consolidation impairment. These findings show that recovery of memory function in OD patients treated along with BZDs takes time, and their memory complaints may have practical relevance.
PMCID: PMC2676265  PMID: 19374740
7.  Methadone vs. buprenorphine/naloxone during early opioid substitution treatment: a naturalistic comparison of cognitive performance relative to healthy controls 
Both methadone- and buprenorphine-treated opioid-dependent patients frequently show cognitive deficits in attention, working memory, and verbal memory. However, no study has compared these patient groups with each other during early opioid substitution treatment (OST). Therefore, we investigated attention, working memory, and verbal memory of opioid-dependent patients within six weeks after the introduction of OST in a naturalistic setting and compared to those of healthy controls.
The sample included 16 methadone-, 17 buprenorphine/naloxone-treated patients, and 17 healthy controls matched for sex and age. In both groups buprenorphine was the main opioid of abuse during the recent month. Benzodiazepine codependence, recent use, and comedication were also common in both patient groups. Analysis of variance was used to study the overall group effect in each cognitive test. Pair-wise group comparisons were made, when appropriate
Methadone-treated patients, as a group, had significantly slower simple reaction time (RT) compared to buprenorphine/naloxone-treated patients. In Go/NoGo RT methadone patients were significantly slower than controls. Both patient groups were significantly debilitated compared to controls in working memory and verbal list learning. Only methadone patients were inferior to controls in story recall. In simple RT and delayed story recall buprenorphine/naloxone patients with current benzodiazepine medication (n = 13) were superior to methadone patients with current benzodiazepine medication (n = 13). When methadone patients were divided into two groups according to their mean dose, the patient group with a low dose (mean 40 mg, n = 8) showed significantly faster simple RT than the high dose group (mean 67 mg, n = 8).
Deficits in attention may only be present in methadone-treated early phase OST patients and may be dose-dependent. Working memory deficit is common in both patient groups. Verbal memory deficit may be more pronounced in methadone-treated patients than in buprenorphine/naloxone-treated patients. In sum, to preserve cognitive function in early OST, the use of buprenorphine/naloxone may be more preferable to methadone use of, at least if buprenorphine has been recently abused and when benzodiazepine comedication is used. Longitudinal studies are needed to investigate if the better performance of buprenorphine/naloxone-treated patients is a relatively permanent effect or reflects "only" transient opioid switching effect.
PMCID: PMC1914339  PMID: 17565668
8.  Cognitive function during early abstinence from opioid dependence: a comparison to age, gender, and verbal intelligence matched controls 
BMC Psychiatry  2006;6:9.
Individuals with opioid dependence have cognitive deficits during abuse period in attention, working memory, episodic memory, and executive function. After protracted abstinence consistent cognitive deficit has been found only in executive function. However, few studies have explored cognitive function during first weeks of abstinence. The purpose of this study was to study cognitive function of individuals with opioid dependence during early abstinence. It was hypothesized that cognitive deficits are pronounced immediately after peak withdrawal symptoms have passed and then partially recover.
Fifteen patients with opioid dependence and fifteen controls matched for, age, gender, and verbal intelligence were tested with a cognitive test battery When patients performed worse than controls correlations between cognitive performance and days of withdrawal, duration of opioid abuse, duration of any substance abuse, or opioid withdrawal symptom inventory score (Short Opiate Withdrawal Scale) were analyzed.
Early abstinent opioid dependent patients performed statistically significantly worse than controls in tests measuring complex working memory, executive function, and fluid intelligence. Their complex working memory and fluid intelligence performances correlated statistically significantly with days of withdrawal.
The results indicate a rather general neurocognitive deficit in higher order cognition. It is suggested that cognitive deficit during early abstinence from opioid dependence is related to withdrawal induced neural dysregulation in the prefrontal cortex and is partly transient.
PMCID: PMC1489929  PMID: 16504127

Results 1-8 (8)