Clinical presentation of the "depression-executive dysfunction syndrome" of late life Academic Article Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Depressive Disorder
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome


  • It has been proposed that a "depression-executive dysfunction (DED) syndrome" occurs in late life. This assertion was based on clinical, neuropathological, and neuroimaging findings suggesting that frontostriatal dysfunctions contribute to the development of both depression and executive dysfunction and influence the course of depression. The authors describe the clinical presentation of DED and its relationship to disability, studying 126 elderly subjects with major depression and evaluating depressive symptoms, cognitive functioning, disability, and personality dimensions. Patients with the DED syndrome had reduced fluency, impaired visual naming, paranoia, loss of interest in activities, and psychomotor retardation, but showed a rather mild vegetative syndrome. Depressive symptomatology, and especially psychomotor retardation and loss of interest in activities, contributed to disability in DED patients, whereas paranoia was associated with disability independently of executive dysfunction. These findings may aid clinicians in identifying patients needing vigilant follow-up, because depression with executive dysfunction was found to be associated with disability, poor treatment response, relapse, and recurrence.

publication date

  • January 2002



  • Academic Article


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/00019442-200201000-00012

PubMed ID

  • 11790640

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 98

end page

  • 106


  • 10


  • 1