The aim of this study was to study the presence and the profile of depressive symptoms in FRDA and their relationship with demographic-disease variables and cognitive processing speed. The group studied 57 patients with a diagnosis of FRDA using the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI) to assess symptoms of depression. Speed of information processing was measured with a Choice Reaction time task. The mean BDI score for patients was significantly higher than the mean score in the general population. Twenty one percent of participants scored in the moderate/severe range. A Cognitive-Affective score and a Somatic-Motivational score was calculated for each patient. Patients' scores in both dimensions were significantly higher than the scores in the general population. Demographic and disease variables were not related with symptoms of depression, except for severity of ataxia. Depressive symptoms predict cognitive reaction times. The greater proportion of variance was explained by the Cognitive-Affective dimension. This data show that both somatic-motivational and cognitive affective symptoms of depression are frequent in individuals with FRDA. In addition, depressive symptoms may influence cognition, especially, the cognitive and affective symptoms.
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