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Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 438329, 9 pages
Research Article

Cognitive Functions and Depression in Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome

1Department of Research, Innlandet Hospital Trust, 2380 Brumunddal, Norway
2Unit for Applied Clinical Research, Department of Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 7491 Trondheim, Norway
3Faculty of Social Sciences and Technology Management, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 7491 Trondheim, Norway
4Hedmark University College, 2409 Elverum, Norway

Received 27 January 2015; Revised 9 April 2015; Accepted 15 April 2015

Academic Editor: Leticia Moreira

Copyright © 2015 Per G. Farup and Knut Hestad. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is associated with depression and depression with impaired cognitive functions. The primary aim was to study associations between depression and cognitive functions in patients with IBS. Methods. IBS (according to the Rome III criteria), cognitive functions (evaluated with a set of neuropsychological tests), and depression (measured with Beck Depression Inventory II and Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Scale) were analysed in patients with idiopathic depression and in patients with unspecified neurological symptoms. Results. 18 and 48 patients with a mean age of 47 and 45 years were included in the “Depression” and “Neurological” group, respectively. In the “Depression” group, the degree of depression was significantly higher in patients with IBS than in those without. Depression was associated with impaired cognitive function in 6 out of 17 neuropsychological tests indicating reduced set shifting, verbal fluency, attention, and psychomotor speed. IBS was statistically significantly associated with depression but not with any of the tests for cognitive functions. Conclusions. IBS was associated with depression but not with impaired cognitive functions. Since the idiopathic depression was associated with cognitive deficits, the findings could indicate that the depression in patients with IBS differs from an idiopathic depression.