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VAS-COG: Sertraline Shows Promise for Improving Executive Function in Dementia

VAS-COG: Sertraline Shows Promise for Improving Executive Function in Dementia

SAN ANTONIO, July 16 -- High-dose therapy with the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) sertraline resulted in statistically and clinically significant improvement in isolated impaired executive function in older patients.

Among 37 patients treated, 23 (62.1%) had clinically meaningful improvement, defined as a decrease of more than three points on the EXIT25 measure of executive function. Thirteen patients met EXIT25 criteria for clinical remission, according to results of a small retrospective study reported here at the International Society for Vascular Behavioral and Cognitive Disorders meeting.

"Our mean improvement [on the EXIT25] is almost six points, which is the difference between two levels of care in a retirement community," said Donald R. Royall, M.D., of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

The patients were treated as part of a therapy evaluation program for patients with impairment involving the frontal lobe. Dr. Royall and colleagues used the Mini-Mental State Exam and the EXIT25 to distinguish patients who have dementia with no cortical involvement from those with cortical dementia, who receive usual care.

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