Apathy, Depression Linked to Dementia

HONOLULU, July 17 (UPI) — Apathy and depression best predict progression from cognitive impairment to dementia, U.S. researchers say.

Lead investigator Dr. Yonas Geda of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., finds individuals with mild cognitive impairment and depression had a 66 percent increased risk of developing dementia than those with mild cognitive impairment without depression.


Individuals with mild cognitive impairment and apathy had a 99 percent increased risk of developing dementia than those with mild cognitive impairment without apathy.

“We knew from previous smaller studies that neuropsychiatric symptoms like depression, apathy and agitation seem to predict progression from mild cognitive impairment to dementia, so we set out to look at this hypothesis in a population-based setting with a larger sample size,” Geda says in a statement.

Geda and colleagues followed 358 people with mild cognitive impairment where depression and apathy were identified using a questionnaire, to the outcome of dementia. Among 87 people with depression, 30 developed dementia. Of the 271 without depression, 59 developed dementia. Among 60 with apathy, 22 developed dementia. Of the 298 without apathy, 67 developed dementia, the study says.

The study was presented at the International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease in Honolulu.

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