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Cognitive impairment in generalized anxiety disorder revealed by event-related potential N270

Authors Yang Y, Zhang X, Zhu Y, Dai Y, Liu T, Wang Y

Received 15 March 2015

Accepted for publication 1 April 2015

Published 3 June 2015 Volume 2015:11 Pages 1405—1411


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Wai Kwong Tang

Yingxue Yang,1,2 Xiating Zhang,1,2 Yu Zhu,1,2 Yakang Dai,3 Ting Liu,3 Yuping Wang1,2

1Department of Neurology, Xuanwu Hospital, Capital Medical University, 2Beijing Key Laboratory of Neuromodulation, Beijing, People’s Republic of China; 3Suzhou Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Suzhou, People’s Republic of China

Background: Cognitive function in anxiety disorders has been the subject of limited investigation, especially in generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The purpose of this study was to investigate the cognitive function in subjects with GAD using mismatch-triggered negativity N270.
Methods: Fifteen medication-free patients with a DSM-IV diagnosis of GAD, and 15 well-matched healthy controls performed a dual-feature delayed matching task while event-related potentials were recorded from their scalp.
Results: The GAD group was characterized by the decreased N270 amplitude in the left hemisphere. The smaller N270 amplitude was associated with greater symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Conclusion: Since N270 is thought to index cognitive function in different domains, including attention and memory, our results suggest that individuals with GAD have an impaired cognitive function, particularly in selective attention and working memory. These cognitive deficits may have clinical significance in subjects with GAD and should be considered in treatment planning.

Keywords: generalized anxiety disorder, N270, cognitive function, selective attention, working memory

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