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A new subtype of depression has been identified, possibly affecting 27% of patients

Their findings suggest a loss in brain power isn’t always a consequence of depression. It could also be a driver of it. Photo: Pexels

(Carley Casella/ Scientist Alert) — Scientists at Stanford University have identified a new subtype of depression that could affect as many as a quarter of all patients with major depressive disorder (MDD).

The findings help explain why the most popular drug treatments for depression are not always effective.

The new subtype is unique from other proposed subtypes because it is marked by cognitive deficits in attention, memory, and self-control. These symptoms are often not alleviated by antidepressants that target serotonin, such as Lexapro (escitalopram) or Zoloft (sertraline).

The researchers are referring to the newly identified subtype as the ‘cognitive subtype’.

In a randomized clinical trial involving over 700 adults, Stanford researchers – with a colleague from the University of Sydney in Australia – found that 27 percent of MDD patients performed worse on cognitive tasks. They also had a worse response to standard drug treatments. (…)