2009 issue 3


Volume 18, issue 3

Original paper

Cognitive deficits and depressive disorders in cerebral stroke patients

Katarzyna Nowakowska1, Grażyna Adamiak1, Karolina Jabłkowska1, Aleksandra Lewandowska1, Agnieszka Stetkiewicz1, Alina Borkowska1
1. Zakład Psychologii Lekarskiej Uniwersytetu Medycznego w Łodzi
Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii 2009; 18 (3): 255-262
Keywords: cognitive dysfunctions, working memory, executive functions, depressive disorders, cerebral stroke

Objectives. The goal of the study was firstly, to assess selected cognitive functions and depressive symptoms severity in patients with cerebral stroke, and secondly, to investigate relationships between cognitive disorders and depressed mood.
Method. The study involved 52patients (28 men and 23 women, aged 47-84, mean age: 60.0±9.9years) assessed not earlier than at 3 months after cerebral stroke. Three subgroups of patients differing in the stroke site were identified (14patients with dominant hemispheric stroke, 26 with a non-dominant hemisphere stroke, 12 with bihemisphericalpost-stroke impairment), and compared with 30 healthy controls matched for sex, age and education. Clinical diagnosis was based on the ICD-10. Severity of dementia was assessed using the Mini Mental State Examination. In the neuropsychological evaluation the Trail Making Test A-B, the Stroop Test A-B, the Clock-Drawing Test, and the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test were used. Depression severity was assessed with the Beck Depression Inventory.
Results. Stroke patients as compared to healthy controls scored significantly lower on the neuropsychological tests measuring various aspects of cognitive function. Cognitive impairment was most marked in the subgroup with bihemispheric stroke, while deficits of verbal and visuospatial working memory were more freąuent in patients with left-hemispheric stroke. Executive dysfunction severity was similar in patients with either right or left hemisphere damage. No relationship was found in the sample under study between cognitive function impairments and depressive symptoms severity.
Conclusions. 1. A significant impairment of working memory and executive functions was found in stroke patients. Impairments of verbal and visuospatial working memory were more marked in patients with left hemispheric stroke. 2. Severe depressive symptoms were found in over a half of the sample under study. 3. Depressed mood severity in stroke patients was higher than that in the group of healthy controls and was not correlated with the level of cognitive dysfunctions.

Address for correspondence:
Dr Katarzyna Nowakowska
Zakład Psychologii Lekarskiej Uniwersytetu Medycznego w Łodzi
ul. Pomorska 251 bud. C-5, 92-213 Łódź
tel./fax. 0-42-6757715
e-mail: katarzyna.nowakowska@umed.lodz.pl