Do people become more apathetic as they grow older? A longitudinal study in healthy individuals

School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.
International Psychogeriatrics (Impact Factor: 1.89). 12/2009; 22(3):426-36. DOI: 10.1017/S1041610209991335
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The aim of this study was to determine levels, rates and progression of apathy in healthy older persons and to investigate factors associated with its progression.
Seventy-six healthy elderly subjects, aged 58-85 years (mean 69.9), who were recruited by general advertisement and through local community groups, participated as a control group for a longitudinal study of stroke patients. Data were collected on demographic, psychological, neuropsychological and neuroimaging (MRI) variables and apathy was rated by informants on the Apathy Evaluation Scale (AES).
Apathy scores and rates increased over 5 years, especially in men. Change of apathy was associated with informant ratings of cognitive decline in the years prior to baseline assessment but not to subsequent neuropsychological, neuroimaging or functional changes.
Apathy increases with age in otherwise healthy community-dwelling individuals, particularly in men.

1 Follower
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Although depression is considered to be associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD), specifically symptoms of apathy have been strongly associated with a history of CVD in recent studies. In this study, we prospectively assess whether symptoms of apathy and depression are independent risk factors for incident CVD and stroke. We carried out a prospective cohort study of 1810 community-dwelling older individuals (70-78 years) without a history of CVD or stroke. Symptoms of apathy and depression were assessed with the 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale. Incident CVD and stroke were assessed after 2 years follow-up. The associations of symptoms of apathy and depression with incident CVD and stroke were analyzed separately using logistic regression analysis. Symptoms of apathy and depression were present in 281 (15.5%) and 266 (14.7%) participants, respectively. Incident CVD occurred in 62 (3.5%) participants and stroke in 55 (3.1%) participants. Apathy was associated with incident CVD after adjustment for demographics and cardiovascular risk factors (odds ratio (OR) = 2.60, 95% CI = 1.46-4.65). Exclusion of subjects with depressive symptoms yielded a similar OR (2.94, 95% CI = 1.45-5.96, n = 1544). No association was found between depressive symptoms and incident CVD. Neither apathy symptoms nor depressive symptoms were associated with incident stroke. Apathy, but not depression, is a strong, independent risk factor for incident CVD. It may be a marker of underlying vascular disease. By its nature, apathy may cause non-adherence to a healthy lifestyle, diminished activities, and possibly even withdrawal from clinical care aimed at improving vascular risk profiles. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 05/2014; 29(5). DOI:10.1002/gps.4026 · 3.09 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background. Psychiatric comorbidity is common in patients with cardiovascular disease, with the literature indicating that this population may be at risk for apathy. The current study examined the prevalence of apathy in patients with cardiovascular disease and its relation to aspects of cognitive function. Methods. 123 participants from an outpatient cardiology clinic completed a brief neuropsychological battery, a cardiac stress test, and demographic information, medical history, and depression symptomatology self-report measures. Participants also completed the Apathy Evaluation Scale to quantify apathy. Results. These subjects reported limited levels of apathy and depression. Increased depressive symptomatology, history of heart attack, and metabolic equivalents were significantly correlated with apathy (P < 0.05). Partial correlations adjusting for these factors revealed significant correlations between behavioral apathy and a measure of executive function and the other apathy subscale with a measure of attention. Conclusion. Findings revealed that apathy was not prevalent in this sample though associated with medical variables. Apathy was largely unrelated to cognitive function. This pattern may be a result of the mild levels of cardiovascular disease and cognitive dysfunction in the current sample. Future studies in samples with severe cardiovascular disease or neuropsychological impairment may provide insight into these associations.
    Cardiovascular Psychiatry and Neurology 01/2013; 2013:659589. DOI:10.1155/2013/659589
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT Background: Delirium in elderly patients is associated with various long-term sequelae that include cognitive impairment and affective disturbances, although the latter is understudied. Methods: For a prospective cohort study of elderly patients undergoing hip fracture surgery, baseline characteristics and affective and cognitive functioning were assessed preoperatively. During hospital admission, presence of delirium was assessed daily. Three months after hospital discharge, affective and global cognitive functioning was evaluated again in patients free from delirium at the time of this follow-up. This study compared baseline characteristics and affective functioning between patients with and without in-hospital delirium. We investigated whether in-hospital delirium is associated with increased anxiety and depressive levels, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms three months after discharge. Results: Among 53 eligible patients, 23 (43.4%) patients experienced in-hospital delirium after hip fracture repair. Patients who had experienced in-hospital delirium showed more depressive symptoms at follow-up after three months compared to the 30 patients without in-hospital delirium. This association persisted in a multivariate model controlling for age, baseline cognition, baseline depressive symptoms, and living situation. The level of anxiety and symptoms of PTSD at follow-up did not differ between both groups. Conclusion: This study suggests that in-hospital delirium is associated with an increased burden of depressive symptoms three months after discharge in elderly patients who were admitted to the hospital for surgical repair of hip fracture. Symptoms of depression in patients with previous in-hospital delirium cannot be fully explained by persistent (sub)syndromal delirium or baseline cognitive impairment. Trial name: The Effect of Taurine on Morbidity and Mortality in the Elderly Hip Fracture Patient. URL: Registration number: NCT00497978.
    International Psychogeriatrics 11/2012; 25(3):1-11. DOI:10.1017/S1041610212001962 · 1.89 Impact Factor