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Executive dysfunctions in hypothyroidism and major depression


Divergences in cognitive disturbances in hypothyroidism reported in the literature are due to a methodological bias. Little is known about the possible link between the cognitive disorders associated with hypothyroidism and those encountered in depression.

Materials and methods

By using a precise methodology, this study examines attentional and executive functions as well as the intensity of anxiety and depressive symptoms in hypothyroidism and major depression and the possible link between these symptoms and cognitive disturbances

(searching for attentional bias for words with a negative emotional valence).


This study confirms the existence of psychomotor slowing associated with attentional and executive disturbance in major depression as well as in hypothyroidism. However, while depressed subjects manifested a conscious bias with material of negative emotional valence, no such bias was found in the hypothyroid subjects.


While the hypothyroid state is accompanied by anxiety/depressive symptoms, it seems that the latter are too discrete for an attentional bias to be observed with material with a negative emotional valence.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Constant, E., Adam, S., Daumerie, C. et al. Executive dysfunctions in hypothyroidism and major depression. Ann Gen Psychiatry 5 (Suppl 1), S65 (2006).

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