Comparisons between healthy controls (HCs) and individuals with mood disorders have shown more cognitive dysfunction among the latter group, in particular in bipolar disorder (BD). This study aimed to characterize the pattern of cognitive function of BD and major depressive disorder (MDD) and compare them to HC using the (CogState Research Battery) CSRB™.
Participants were tested, comprising the following domains: processing speed, attention, working memory, visual memory, executive functions, and verbal memory. Quality of life and functionality were also assessed. Multiple linear regression models were performed to examine the effect of demographic characteristics and functionality on cognitive outcomes separately for BD and MDD.
Ninety individuals participated in the study, of which 32 had BD, 30 had MDD, and 28 were HC. Differences were found between both BD and MDD and HC for the composite cognitive score, with significant differences between BD and HC (Diff = -5.5, 95% CI = [-9.5, -1.5], p = 0.005), and MDD and HC (Diff = -4.6, 95% CI = [-8.6, -0.5], p = 0.025). There were overall significant differences in five cognitive domains: processing speed (p = 0.001 and p = 0.004), attention (p = 0.002), working memory (p = 0.02), visual memory (p = 0.021), and verbal memory (p = 0.007). BD also presented worse performance than both MDD and HC, and MDD presented better performance than BD but worse than HC in quality of life and functionality. Multiple linear regression models were significative for education (p < 0.001) and age (p = 0.004) for BD and education (p < 0.001) for MDD.
In general, cognition is more affected in BD than MDD, which could be associated with functional and quality of life impairment.