Apathy: Alzheimer’s oft-neglected symptom

with No Comments

(Agence France-Presse) —British researchers have established a correlation with apathy and Alzheimer’s disease, a distinct symptom that has historically been confused with depression.

Loss of memory is one of the symptoms most associated with Alzheimer’s, which makes sense considering that the neurodegenerative disorder, which gradually destroys neurons, first attacks the hippocampus, an area of the brain that plays a crucial role in the management of memories.

But Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia can also affect a patient’s ability to feel and express emotions. This loss of emotional capacity is known to the medical world as apathy, and while common, apathy is hard to detect, as it is more subtle than other symptoms and often confused with depression.

However, the symptom presents “its own unique clinical and biological profile,” as pointed out by a new study conducted at the University of Exeter, and presented during the last Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Los Angeles. The study analyzed data from 4,320 Alzheimer’s patients from 20 cohort studies, in order to “look at the prevalence of apathy over time.” (…)

read full story