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09 January 2015 : Original article  

Association of Depression and Loneliness with Specific Cognitive Performance in Non-Demented Elderly Males

Ruu-Fen TzangDE, Albert C. YangCD, Heng-Liang YehB, Mu-En LiuD, Shih-Jen TsaiABCD

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.891086

Med Sci Monit 2015; 21:100-104

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Loneliness and depression are very common in the aged population. Both have negative impacts on cognition in the elderly. The present study aimed to investigate the effect of loneliness and depression on total as well as specific cognitive domains in cognitively normal male subjects.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: A total of 189 cognitively normal male subjects were recruited and underwent Cognitive Abilities Screening Instrument (CASI) and Wechsler Digit Span Task tests. Depression was assessed by the Geriatric Depression Scale-Short Form (GDS-SF) and loneliness by UCLA loneliness scales. Partial correlation test was used to explore the correlation between loneliness/depression and total as well as specific cognition function, with the controlled factors of age and education.

RESULTS: Both depression and loneliness are negatively correlated with global cognitive function as evaluated with CASI (r=–0.227, p=0.002; r=–0.214, p=0.003, respectively). The domains of Attention, Orientation, Abstraction and judgment, and List-generating fluency of cognitive function were specifically associated with loneliness, and the domain of orientation was associated with depression after controlling the factors age and years of education.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that loneliness and depression may have negative impacts on global and specific domains of cognitive function in non-demented elderly males. Both loneliness and depression should be actively recognized earlier and appropriately treated because they are significant sources of cognitive impairment in the elderly.

Keywords: Aged, 80 and over, Aging, Cognition - physiology, Cognition Disorders - complications, Depression - complications, Loneliness, Neuropsychological Tests, Psychometrics, Questionnaires, Taiwan

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Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750
Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750