University of Oulu

Marjo Taivalantti, Jennifer H Barnett, Anu-Helmi Halt, Jari Koskela, Juha Auvinen, Markku Timonen, Marjo-Riitta Järvelin, Juha Veijola, Depressive symptoms as predictors of visual memory deficits in middle-age, Journal of Affective Disorders, Volume 264, 2020, Pages 29-34, ISSN 0165-0327,

Depressive symptoms as predictors of visual memory deficits in middle-age

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Author: Taivalantti, Marjo1; Barnett, Jennifer H.2; Halt, Anu-Helmi1;
Organizations: 1Department of Psychiatry, Research Unit of Clinical Neuroscience, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Department of Life Sciences, College of Health and Life Sciences, Brunel University London, United Kingdom
3Center for Life Course Health Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu Finland
4Oulunkaari Health Centre, Ii, Finland
5Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, MRC Health Protection Agency (HPE), Centre for Environment and Health, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, UK
6Biocenter Oulu, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
7Unit of Primary Care, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
8Medical Research Centre Oulu, University Hospital of Oulu and University of Oulu and Department of psychiatry, University Hospital of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.9 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-11-30


Background: Depression has been known to affect memory and other cognitive domains. The objective of this longitudinal cohort study was to investigate longitudinal associations between depressive symptoms at age 31 years and visual memory and new learning at the age of 46 years. We investigated whether depressive symptoms at age 31 predicted visual memory deficits at age 46 years, and whether changes in depressive symptoms between 31 and 46 years predicted visual memory at age 46.

Methods: Participants were members of the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966. Depressive symptoms were assessed with the Symptom Checklist-25 (SCL-25) on both occasions. Visual memory and new learning were assessed using Paired Associative Learning (PAL) test at the age 46 follow-up. PAL total errors adjusted and first trial memory score were used as outcomes and basic educational level, relationship status, physical activity and diet at baseline were considered as confounding factors in linear regression analysis.

Results: A total of 5029 (57% female) participants were included in the main analysis. No associations were found between depressive symptoms or change in depressive symptoms and visual memory and new learning scores. The result did not change following cut-offs 1.55 and 1.75 for depression.

Limitations: SCL-25 only measures symptoms during the past week. Only one cognitive domain was assessed.

Conclusions: Contrary to our hypothesis, neither baseline depressive symptoms nor change in depressive symptoms predicted visual memory scores 15 years later. It appears that sub-clinical depressive symptoms do not effect this cognitive domain in the middle-aged population.

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Series: Journal of affective disorders
ISSN: 0165-0327
ISSN-E: 1573-2517
ISSN-L: 0165-0327
Volume: 264
Pages: 29 - 34
DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2019.11.125
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3112 Neurosciences
Funding: Marjo Taivalantti: A personal grant of Mällinen Foundation. NFBC 1966 received financial support from University of Oulu Grant no. 24000692, Oulu University Hospital Grant no. 24301140, ERDF European Regional Development Fund Grant no. 539/2010 A31592.
Copyright information: © 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license