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Spatial memory and depression

March 11, 2007

In my first post I already mentioned that this blag is mostly for myself, and that I’d add notes for myself about things I like or want to remember. This is such a piece.
In the American Journal of Psychiatry I found an interesting article titled:

Performance on a Virtual Reality Spatial Memory Navigation Task in Depressed Patients

The title doesn’t leave much for the imagination on what it’s about, but the findings are interesting nonetheless:

Method: Performance on a novel virtual reality navigation task and a traditional measure of spatial memory was assessed in 30 depressed patients (unipolar and bipolar) and 19 normal comparison subjects.

Results: Depressed patients performed significantly worse than comparison subjects on the virtual reality task, as assessed by the number of locations found in the virtual town. Betweengroup differences were not detected on the traditional measure. The navigation task showed high test-retest reliability.

Conclusions: Depressed patients performed worse than healthy subjects on a novel spatial memory task. Virtual reality navigation may provide a consistent, sensitive measure of cognitive deficits in patients with affective disorders, representing a mechanism to study a putative endophenotype for hippocampal function.
(Am J Psychiatry 2007; 164:516–519, link )

Well, there you go. I think this was interesting, and I want to remember it.
(The only question I have that the article didn’t answer is, if there existed a correlation between the familiarity with the game and the people who were depressed. I.e. whether the depressed people could be more familiar with the game)

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