Mar 10, 2007
Performance on a virtual reality spatial memory navigation task in depressed patients
Performance on a virtual reality spatial memory navigation task in depressed patients.
Am J Psychiatry. 2007 Mar;164(3):516-9
Authors: Gould NF, Holmes MK, Fantie BD, Luckenbaugh DA, Pine DS, Gould TD, Burgess N, Manji HK, Zarate CA
OBJECTIVE: Findings on spatial memory in depression have been inconsistent. A navigation task based on virtual reality may provide a more sensitive and consistent measure of the hippocampal-related spatial memory deficits associated with depression. 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. Between-group 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.