Psychiatry and Clinical Psychopharmacology
Original Article

Differential Diagnosis Findings Between Alzheimer’s Disease and Major Depressive Disorder: A Review


Health Psychology Program, Methodist University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil


Institute of Psychiatry, Department of Psychology and Neuropsychology, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Psychiatry and Clinical Psychopharmacology 2022; 32: 80-88
DOI: 10.5152/pcp.2022.21133
Read: 1254 Downloads: 209 Published: 01 March 2022

Background: Differentiating diagnosis between Alzheimer’s disease and major depressive disorder in the elderly is a great clinical challenge. This study aimed to identify the establishment of differential diagnosis protocols between Alzheimer’s disease and major depressive disorder.

Methods: We searched studies in the Ovid MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, and Web of Science databases between 2009 and 2019. A total of 155 references were found for searching relevant articles using Boolean search. After exclusion of redundancies and assessing of title, abstract, and full text for eligibility, 11 articles were selected. The total sample size was 1077 distributed in 8 different countries.

Results: Significant results were found for differential diagnosis between Alzheimer’s disease and major depressive disorder, such as overall mental status, episodic memory, visuospatial construction, delayed recognition task, semantic verbal fluency, visual task in short-term memory, atrophy of the hippocampus, cortical activation in specific tasks, and cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers.

Conclusion: These findings are good pathways for discriminating Alzheimer’s disease from major depression in the elderly.

Cite this article as: Durães RSS, Yokomizo JE, Saffi F, Rocca CCA, Serafim AP. Differential diagnosis findings between alzheimer’s disease and major depressive disorder: A review. Psychiatr Clin Psychopharmacol. 2022;32(1):80-88.

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