September 20, 2016
“Erythropoietin (EPO) treated patients showed a five times greater cognitive improvement from their individual baseline levels compared with placebo treated patients. EPO-treated patients showed 11% improvement while placebo treated patients improved only by 2%. This effect of EPO on cognition was maintained 6 weeks after patients had completed their treatment,” study researcher Kamilla Miskowiak, PhD, of Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark, said in a press release.
To assess effects of EPO on speed of complex cognitive processing in individuals with unipolar or bipolar depression, researchers randomly assigned individuals to 8 weekly EPO (n = 40) or saline (n = 39) infusions. Speed of complex cognitive processing and mood symptoms were assessed at baseline, week 9 and week 14.
Participants who received EPO had improved speed of complex cognitive processing at weeks 9 and 14 (P .05).
Objective cognitive baseline deficits increased likelihood of achieving clinically relevant improvement in cognition by 9.7 (95% CI, 1.2-81.1) at week 9 and 9.9 (95% CI, 1.1-88.4) at week 14 among participants who received EPO.
Cognitive improvement associated with EPO was correlated with reduced subjective cognitive complaints at week 9 (P = .01), which was mediated by lower depressive symptom severity.
However, the significant correlation persisted independently of change in depressive symptoms at week 14 (P < .01).
Improved objective cognition was not associated with change in quality of life or socio-occupational function.
“The results of this study, albeit preliminary, give hope to people suffering from mood disorders and associated neurocognitive symptoms. Those symptoms are now recognized as a core part of affective disorders and are not appropriately tackled by the currently available pharmacological armamentarium, despite their close association with relevant clinical outcomes such as the ability to return to work,” Eduard Vieta, PhD, treasurer of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, said in the release. – by Amanda Oldt
Ott CV, et al. The effect of erythropoietin on cognition in affective disorders — associations with baseline deficits and change in subjective cognitive complaints. Presented at: European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Congress; September 17-20, 2016; Vienna.