Cognitive Impairment, Depression in the Workplace

The THINC-it tool is currently being developed in Toronto, Canada, with support from the Mood Disorders Psychopharmacology Unit at the University of Toronto and the Brain and Cognition Discovery Foundation, and is anticipated to provide a free-of-charge service adaptable to various clinical settings, providing actionable information (eg, potential for patient stratification based on task performance) for clinicians and patients with subsequent validations planned in other languages (ie, Spanish, French, Chinese, Korean).1 The THINC-it tool is meant to assist individuals with MDD to identify aspects of their cognition that may be contributing to limitations in their work capacity; inform clinician treatment recommendations; and identify the extent to which impaired cognition affects work functioning by providing an objective stratification method for distinguishing inter- and intraindividual differences among people affected by depression.

In short, the recently estimated $210.5 billion cost of MDD to the workplace, with 48% to 50% of that cost attributable to workplace productivity losses and absenteeism, further underscores the hazards posed by cognitive impairment in MDD and demonstrates the need for better identifying and treating cognitive impairment in depression.2 Available evidence indicates that standard clinical interventions supplemented with accommodative strategies for returning to work, as well as modification of work responsibilities and expectations, may benefit employees affected by MDD until a systematic measurement of their cognitive function is developed — one that provides further information on how much cognitive function negatively affects work function and identifies targeted treatment for cognitive impairment in these individuals.   


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