A new way to help recover from depression?

The idea

Depression affects one in 10 in the USA and 121 million people worldwide. There are now many measures and procedures that are undertaken to help recover from the condition but it is still increasing by up to 20 per cent each year. Today, a new way to help combat memory loss associated with the condition has been put forward by the University of Cambridge. Memory loss is a common symptom of depression and contributes to a loss of attention and concentration, which affects many who suffer from depression. The theory put forward by the study will help those with the condition remember a time before their bout, which will hopefully help increase cognitive function and stimulate happier emotions.

The science

“In total, 60 patients with remitted depression participated in the study. Cognitive functions were evaluated with tests of working memory, planning, attention, and episodic memory. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled design was used to assess the effects of single-dose modafinil or placebo on cognition and fatigue.”

Answer provided by Dr Muzaffer Kaser, the lead author of the study.

The results

From the outset, modafinil seemed suited to its purpose. Participants in the study were found to make fewer mistakes when given memory tests based around everyday activities. These included remembering where house keys had been left, remembering where a car had been parked or a password for a phone.