Researchers from the University of Adelaide have developed a new tool that will assist clinicians in assessing the people suffering from major depressive disorder (MDD).
According to a recent report, the THINC-integrated tool (THINC-it) is a digital software tool that evaluates the cognitive functions of severely depressed people.
The researchers from the University’s Discipline of Psychiatry evaluated the new tool’s effectiveness in checking the cognitive function of 127 life-long sufferers of MDD.
A Research Officer who was part of the team that carried out the research shared that people suffering from major depressive disorder frequently experience cognitive dysfunction.
This reduces their ability to think clearly, concentrate and remember important information.
Moreover, cognitive difficulties that are associated with MDD can lead to people having problems coping with daily life.
This can adversely affect their work life, their personal relationships, and reduce their quality of life in general.
With THINC-it, clinicians will be assisted in tailoring plans to treat the cognitive deficits of the patients.
Additionally, it will enhance the precision of the treatment that will be used for people suffering from severe depression.
In Australia, 2.1 million people are affected with major depressive order. Globally, there are over 300 million. It places a major burden on clinicians
Sufferers of this disorder frequently cope with functional disability for many years.
The digital software tool can be downloaded by clinicians who use it to carry out four objectives tests on their patients.
In one of these tests, the patient has to measure their own cognitive problems that they experience in their daily life.
The software is self-instructed and can be completed in 10 to 15 minutes. It automatically generates a report of the patient’s cognitive function, and identifies any areas where cognitive deficits are present.
The Head of Psychiatry at the University explained that exiting cognitive screening tools are more time consuming and costly than THINC-it.
Aside from cost and time, these existing tools place significant administrative burden on the psychiatrist or interviewer.
Identifying cognitive deficits in patients suffering with MDD is very significant so that these patients can receive treatments specifically designed to address their cognitive and functional symptoms.
Furthermore, assessing the cognitive impairment of people suffering from MDD is particularly important for individuals whose occupational functioning is being affected.
The results from this research, which was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, have shown that THINC-it swiftly provides an accurate measure of the cognitive difficulties of patients and the associated functional impairments.