A study was conducted to evaluate the relationship between apathy, depression, and pharmacological treatment of depression in 11,780 patients, 45 years-old and up.
Dr Wyman concluded, “Apathy at baseline was related to increased risk of conversion accounting for depression severity and treatment, confirming the potential clinical importance of this neuropsychiatric symptom for assessing risk.”
In a seperate study published in the JAMA Psychiatry journal, researchers found apathy to be associated with an increased risk for incident dementia in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
These findings have high clinical relevance because patients with apathy are likely to withdraw from care. The risk for dementia among patients with apathy appears to be independent of concurrent depression, greater in the short term, and less strong with higher age and greater cognitive impairment. Apathy may be a powerful marker of increased risk for incident dementia.