Using Attentional Bias Modification as a Cognitive Vaccine Against Depression
Biological Psychiatry, 05/17/2012
Browning 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.Methods
- 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.