Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Antidepressants Appear to Bolster Executive Function after Stroke

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Antidepressants Appear to Bolster Executive Function after Stroke

Article excerpt

SAN DIEGO -- Treatment with antidepressants improved executive function in patients who had a recent stroke, results from a 2-year study of 47 patients demonstrated.

The finding suggests that "modulation of the monoaminergic neurotransmission by chronic administration of antidepressants after stroke might have positive effects on the reorganization of neuronal networks associated with prefrontal functions," researchers led by Dr. Kenji Narushima wrote in a poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Neuropyschiatric Association.

The study was conducted because, while decline of executive function is common following stroke, "there is little empirical evidence of effective biological treatments to improve stroke-related executive dysfunction," the researchers wrote. "Antidepressants administered after stroke are known to prevent subsequent depression, improve activities of daily living, and reduce mortality independent of depression."

In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, he and his associates in the department of psychiatry at the University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City, enrolled 47 patients who had had a stroke in the prior 6 months to receive 12 weeks of therapy with nortriptyline, fluoxetine, or placebo, followed by tests of executive function at 3 months and 2 years.

Tests of executive function included the Controlled Oral Word Association Test, the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, and the similarities, digit span, and arithmetic subtests of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised. …

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