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Vanderhasselt M.-A.,Ghent University | De Raedt R.,Ghent University | Dillon D.G.,Center for Depression | Dutra S.J.,Yale University | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience | Year: 2012

Background: Major depressive disorder (MDD) is associated with difficulty disengaging attention from emotionally negative information. Few studies have investigated whether euthymic individuals with a history of depression (remitted MDD [rMDD]) show similar deficits, and little is known about concomitant neurophysiological features of such deficits. To fill these gaps, we investigated cognitive control over emotional stimuli in participants with rMDD and controls without history of depression or psychopathology. Methods: We collected 128- channel event-related potentials (ERPs) while participants performed a cued emotional conflict task. During the task, a cue instructed the participant to respond to the actual or opposite valence of an upcoming happy or sad face. Results: We enrolled 15 individuals with rMDD and 18 controls in our study. Event-related potentials showed no group differences in response to the cues, highlighting preserved preparatory processes when anticipating an emotional conflict. However, relative to the control group, the rMDD group responded more slowly and showed reduced N450 amplitudes on trials that required disengaging from negative faces (pressing "happy" in response to a sad face). Limitations: The sample size was small, and the null finding in the cue-locked N2 analyses may be owing to low power. C onclusion: Our results suggest a selective deficit in cognitive control over sad stimuli in individuals with rMDD. Additional studies will be required to pinpoint whether the current findings stem from impairments in response conflict, conflict monitoring and/or at-tentional disengagement in response to sad stimuli. Moreover, future studies are warranted to evaluate whether decreased cognitive control in response to negative information might increase the risk for future depressive episodes. © 2012 Canadian Medical Association. Source


Abramovitch A.,Harvard University | Abramovitch A.,Massachusetts General Hospital | Pizzagalli D.A.,Harvard University | Pizzagalli D.A.,Center for Depression | And 5 more authors.
European Psychiatry | Year: 2015

Background: Cigarette smoking is more prevalent among individuals with psychiatric disorders than the general population. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) may be an intriguing exception, although no recent study has investigated this hypothesis in OCD patients. Moreover, it is unknown whether reduced smoking rates are present in unaffected first-degree relatives of OCD patients. Methods: We assessed smoking prevalence in adults with OCD and unaffected parents of youth with OCD (PYOCD). To this end, 113 adults with OCD completed online questionnaires assessing symptom severity and smoking status. Smoking status was obtained from an independent sample of 210 PYOCD assessed for psychiatric diagnoses. Results: Smoking prevalence rates in adults with OCD (13.3%; n=. 15) and PYOCD (9.5%; n=. 20) samples were significantly lower than those found in representative samples of the general population (19-24%, all P<. 001) and Axis I disorders (36-64%; all P<. 001). There were no smokers in the adult OCD subset without clinically significant depressive symptoms (n=. 54). Conclusion: Low prevalence of smoking in OCD may be familial and unique among psychiatric disorders, and might represent a possible state-independent OCD marker. Hypotheses concerning the uncharacteristically low prevalence rates are discussed with relation to OCD phenomenology and pathophysiology. © 2014 Elsevier Masson SAS. Source


Abramovitch A.,Harvard University | Abramovitch A.,Massachusetts General Hospital | Pizzagalli D.A.,Harvard University | Pizzagalli D.A.,Center for Depression | And 3 more authors.
Psychiatry Research | Year: 2014

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has been linked to reward dysfunctions, highlighting a possible role of anhedonia in OCD. Surprisingly, anhedonia in OCD has never been evaluated. Moreover, although nicotine typically has anti-anhedonic effects, anecdotal reports suggest low prevalence rates of smoking in OCD. To address these two phenomena, 113 individuals with OCD completed a battery of questionnaires assessing symptom severity, anhedonia, and smoking. 28.3% of the sample met criteria for clinically significant anhedonia, which correlated with Y-BOCS scores (r=0.44), even when controlling for depressive symptoms. 13.3% of the sample endorsed current smoking, a lower rate than seen in psychiatric disorders (40-90%) and the general adult population (19%). Results highlight high rates of anhedonia and yet reduced prevalence of smoking in OCD. In contrast to the known positive association between anhedonia and smoking, a negative association emerged. Future research is needed to address the unique interface between anhedonia and reward responsiveness in OCD. Potential clinical implications are discussed. © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. Source


Nikolova Y.,Harvard University | Bogdan R.,Harvard University | Pizzagalli D.A.,Harvard University | Pizzagalli D.A.,Center for Depression
Neuropsychobiology | Year: 2012

Background: Stressful life experiences frequently precede the onset of major depression; however, the mechanisms that underlie this link are poorly understood. Importantly, some individuals are more susceptible to the depressogenic effects of stress than others. Carriers of the S or L G allele of the 5-HTTLPR/rs25531 polymorphisms (S' participants) have been found to be more prone to developing depression under stress relative to L or L A homozygotes (L' participants). Moreover, emerging evidence indicates that stress-induced anhedonia may be a mechanism underlying links between stress and depression. Given these findings, we hypothesized that exposure to a naturalistic stressor (school final examinations) would disrupt reward responsiveness (a key behavioral component of anhedonia), and that this effect would be strongest in S' participants. Methods: To objectively assess reward responsiveness, we administered a probabilistic reward task to 70 Bulgarian high school students over two sessions in the 6-month period preceding school finals. For each participant, the two sessions were designated as the 'stress' and 'control' conditions based on self-reported perceived stress. Results: A genotype × condition interaction emerged in males, with S' participants showing larger stress-related reduction in reward responsiveness relative to L' participants. Conclusion: While in need of replication in a larger sample, our results indicate that stress associated with a real-life event is linked to reduced reward responsiveness, the susceptibility to which is modulated by 5-HTTLPR/rs25531 genotype. Although preliminary, these findings identify anhedonia as a promising mechanism linking 5-HTTLPR/rs25531 genotype and stress to depression. Copyright © 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel. Source


Killgore W.D.S.,Harvard University | Gogel H.,Center for Depression
Applied Neuropsychology:Adult | Year: 2014

Neuropsychological assessments are frequently time-consuming and fatiguing for patients. Brief screening evaluations may reduce test duration and allow more efficient use of time by permitting greater attention toward neuropsychological domains showing probable deficits. The Design Organization Test (DOT) was initially developed as a 2-min paper-and-pencil alternative for the Block Design (BD) subtest of the Wechsler scales. Although initially validated for clinical neurologic patients, we sought to further establish the reliability and validity of this test in a healthy, more diverse population. Two alternate versions of theDOT and theWechslerAbbreviated Scale of Intelligence (WASI)were administered to 61 healthy adult participants. The DOT showed high alternate forms reliability (r = .90-.92), and the two versions yielded equivalent levels of performance. The DOT was highly correlated with BD (r = .76-.79) and was significantly correlated with all subscales of theWASI. The DOT proved useful when used in lieu of BD in the calculation of WASI IQ scores. Findings support the reliability and validity of the DOT as a measure of visuospatial ability and suggest its potential worth as an efficient estimate of intellectual functioning in situations where lengthier tests may be inappropriate or unfeasible. © William D. S. Killgore and Hannah Gogel. Source

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