Poor Verbal Memory Increases Risk for Psychiatric Hospitalization

Clinically significant impairment in verbal memory was associated with a higher risk for future hospitalization.

HealthDay News Poor verbal memory increases the risk for psychiatric hospitalization among individuals with affective disorders, according to a study published in the April issue of eClinicalMedicine.

Anjali Sankar, Ph.D., from Copenhagen University Hospital-Rigshospitalet in Denmark, and colleagues examined the role of neurocognitive impairments on psychiatric hospitalizations and sociodemographic conditions. The analysis included 518 individuals with bipolar or major depressive disorder in national registers, followed for up to 11 years from 2009 to 2020.

The researchers found that clinically significant impairment in verbal memory, but not in executive function, was associated with a higher risk for future hospitalization after adjustment for age, sex, hospitalization in the year preceding inclusion, as well as depression severity, diagnosis, and type of clinical trial (hazard ratio, 1.84). Even after accounting for illness duration, the results remained significant. There was no association observed between neurocognitive impairment and worsening of sociodemographic conditions.

“It has long been known that patients who have previously been hospitalized with major depression or bipolar disorder often have impaired memory. But it was believed that it was the severity of the illness itself that played a role in the poor memory. Now we can see that the arrow also points the other way,” a coauthor said in a statement. “Poor verbal memory in itself increases the risk of psychiatric hospitalization. This is evident when we adjust for previous hospitalization, severity of illness, depression symptoms, and other factors that we know are important.”

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