People in late-adulthood showing severe apathy might be at a higher risk for dementia, new research released in Neurology suggests.
The study was conducted by researchers at the American Academy of Neurology.
In their study, more than 2,000 older adult participants with no prior history of dementia, were examined. Among the participants, researchers measured apathy by administering a survey questionnaire addressing symptoms over the last four weeks.
From the assessment, the participants were split into three groups based on symptom severity, ranging from low to severe apathy.
Almost a decade later, researchers followed up on the participants to identify if any had developed dementia. According to researchers, 381 participants went on to develop dementia, with the highest rates among the group who exhibited severe apathy.
“While depression has been studied more extensively as a predictor of dementia, our study adds to the research showing that apathy also deserves attention as an independent predictor of the disease,” said Meredith Bock, co-author of the study, in a news release.
“More research is needed, but it’s possible that these are signs that people may be at risk for Alzheimer’s disease and could benefit from early interventions and efforts to reduce other risk factors.”