Article

Apathy following stroke.

Department of Psychiatry, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, 52242, USA. <>
Canadian journal of psychiatry. Revue canadienne de psychiatrie (Impact Factor: 2.41). 06/2010; 55(6):350-4.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We will review the available evidence on the frequency, clinical correlates, mechanism, and treatment of apathy following stroke.
We have explored relevant databases (that is, PubMed, MEDLINE, and PsycINFO) using the following key words and their combinations: apathy, motivation, abulia, stroke, cerebrovascular disease, basal ganglia, prefrontal cortex, anterior cerebral infarction, and thalamus.
The frequency of apathy following stroke has been consistently estimated between 20% and 25%. It appears to be associated with the presence of cognitive impairment, a chronic course characterized by progressive functional decline, and with disruption of neural networks connecting the anterior cingulate gyrus, the dorsomedial frontal cortex, and the frontal pole with the ventral aspects of the caudate nucleus, the anterior and ventral globus pallidus, and the dorsomedian and intralaminar thalamic nuclei. Published treatment studies have been mostly limited to anecdotal case reports, generally using dopamine agonists or stimulant medications. Cholinesterase inhibitors and nefiracetam may significantly reduce apathetic symptoms. However, their efficacy was examined in relatively small clinical trials that require replication.
Apathy is a frequent neuropsychiatric complication of stroke that, although often associated with depression and cognitive impairment, may occur independently of both. Its presence has been consistently associated with greater functional decline. However, there is no conclusive evidence about which is the best treatment for this condition.

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