The THINC® Task Force comprises a global faculty with expertise in the broad areas of psychology, psychiatry, mood disorders, psychopharmacology and, specifically, in psychometrics. This team has been assembled not only because its members have done original research in the field of cognition deficits in depression but also because they have translated this research to make it accessible to the practicing clinician thereby allowing them to assess their patients with this condition for cognitive deficiencies in depression.
As Professor McIntyre explained, the overarching aim of the THINC® Task Force is to increase awareness of cognition - and cognition deficits – in depression– what is its pertinence, why assess it, why measure it and, importantly, why treat it?
Sharpening the focus on depression cognition
One of the key deliverables of the THINC® Task Force is to provide clinicians with a measurement tool that detects cognitive deficiencies in depressed patients. Professor McIntyre described this as a tool that will allow busy practitioners to ‘sharpen their focus’ on cognition. The tool is easy to use in everyday practice and will facilitate better evaluation and management of cognitive deficiencies in depressed patients.
Contained within the THINC® Cognition Tool are a number of brief, easy to administer and easy to understand objective tests including the Digit Symbol Coding Test (DSCD), Choice Reaction Time (CRT), the Trail Making Test (TMT) and the Two-Back Test (2BT) as well as the subjective, patient reported assessment PDQ test. As Professor McIntyre pointed out, it is critical to have both objective and subjective assessments because this combination provides both clinician and patient-based information of overall cognitive function.
The THINC® Cognition Tool along with many other useful materials concerned with cognitive deficiency in depression MDD will be available soon.
Counting the cost of cognition
It is recognised that cognitive impairment drives functional impairment. By ignoring cognitive impairment, this drives up the cost of managing not only depression but possibly other mental disorders. Furthermore, the work force has changed and for societies to remain competitive, they have to look after and preserve the cognitive wellbeing of their citizens. By gaining a good understanding of brain substrates that underlie depression and the associated cognitive dysfunction it should be possible in the future to better target cognitive impairment as measured by the THINC® tool.