Neurocognitive Testing for Identifying Treatment Biomarkers in Adolescents with Major Depressive Disorde

Sekine Ozturk


Although various treatment approaches are available for MDD, 30 to 50% of patients fail to respond to those interventions1. Identifying pre-treatment biomarkers may give clinicians reliable estimates of whether patients will respond to a treatment. Such biomarkers can guide treatment selection, which may reduce costs relevant to unsuccessful treatments. Neurocognitive tasks are designed to tap into functioning of critical neural networks that may highlight deficits associated with MDD, which may indicate biomarkers relevant to treatment response. This study used Attention Network Task (ANT) and Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) to assess critical aspects of attention (alerting, orienting), executive control (conflict detection), and decision making in the context of rewards and punishments. Previous research has revealed that depressed adolescent show impairments in the ANT and IGT compared to their healthy counterparts. The deficits implicated in the task results were hypothesized to be the markers that can potentially predict treatment outcome in depressed adolescents (N = 15). Participants received 16 weeks of interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT-A) treatment. Pre-treatment ANT and IGT scores of treatment responders and non-responders were compared and correlated with the degree of remission achieved over the course of    treatment. Overall for the ANT, conflict detection and alerting did not differentiate responders and non-responders. However, a significant positive correlation was found between orienting score and the degree of treatment response. For the IGT, on the other hand, analyses failed to report any significant group differences.


adolescent depression, executive function, treatment biomarkers, MDD

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