Using Attentional Bias Modification as a Cognitive Vaccine Against Depression
Biological Psychiatry, 05/17/2012Browning M et al.
Positive face–based attentional bias modification (ABM) was able to reduce intermediate measures of recurrence risk in previously depressed patients. These results suggest that ABM may provide a “cognitive vaccine” against depression and offer a useful strategy in the secondary prevention of the illness.
Sixty-one patients with at least two previous episodes of depression who were currently in remission were randomized to receive either an active (positive) or placebo computer-based ABM regime.
The ABM regime presented either pictures of faces or words.
Residual depressive symptoms, measured using the Beck Depression Inventory and the cortisol awakening response were measured immediately before and after completion of the bias modification and then again after 4 weeks' follow-up.
Positive, face-based ABM reduced both measures of recurrence risk (Beck Depression Inventory and cortisol awakening response).
This effect occurred during the month following completion of bias modification.
Word-based modification did not influence the outcome measures.
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