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Catatonia in depression: prevalence, clinical correlates, and validation of a scale.
  1. S E Starkstein,
  2. G Petracca,
  3. A Tesón,
  4. E Chemerinski,
  5. M Merello,
  6. R Migliorelli,
  7. R Leiguarda
  1. Department of Neuropsychiatry, Institute of Neurological Research, Buenos Aires, Argentina.


    OBJECTIVES--To examine the clinical correlates of catatonia in depression, to validate a scale for catatonia, and to assess the validity of the DSM-IV criteria of the catatonic features specifier for mood disorders. METHODS--A series of 79 consecutive patients with depression and 41 patients with Parkinson's disease without depression were examined using the modified Rogers scale (MRS), the unified Parkinson's disease rating scale (UPDRS), and the structured clinical interview for DSM-III-R (SCID). RESULTS--Sixteen of the 79 depressed patients (20%) had catatonia. Depressed patients with catatonia had significantly higher scores on the MRS than non-catatonic depressed patients matched for severity of depression, or non-depressed patients with Parkinson's disease matched for severity of motor impairment. Depressed patients with catatonia were older, had a significantly higher frequency of major depression, more severe cognitive impairments, and more severe deficits in activities of daily living than depressed non-catatonic patients. The DSM-IV criteria of catatonia separated depressed catatonic patients from patients with Parkinson's disease matched for motor impairment, with a specificity of 100%. Catatonic signs did not improve after apomorphine. CONCLUSIONS--catatonia is most prevalent among elderly patients with severe depression. The study showed the validity of the MRS for the diagnosis of catatonia in depressed patients, as well as the specificity of the DSM-IV criteria of the catatonic features specifier.

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