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Apathy and Dementia. Nosology, Assessment and Management

Cipriani, Gabriele MD; Lucetti, Claudio MD; Danti, Sabrina PsyD; Nuti, Angelo MD

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: October 2014 - Volume 202 - Issue 10 - p 718–724
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000190
Review Articles

Apathy, characterized by lack of motivation and loss of initiative, is a non-cognitive symptom that affects a high proportion, but not all, of patients with all forms of dementia. To explore the phenomenon of apathy in people with dementia, we searched the PubMed and Google Scholar electronic databases for original research and review articles on apathetic behaviors in patients with dementia using the search terms “apathy, behavioral and psychological symptoms, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Frontotemporal dementia, Dementia associated with Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Vascular dementia”. Some nosological aspects, neurobiological basis, and assessment of, as well as, potential benefits of non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic interventions for apathy in dementia are discussed. Greater understanding of apathy will improve the identification, intervention, and treatment of this ubiquitous and pernicious syndrome.

Neurology Unit, Hospital of Viareggio, Lido di Camaiore, Lucca (Lu), Italy.

Send reprint requests to Gabriele Cipriani, MD, Hospital of Viareggio, via Aurelia, 55043, Lido di Camaiore, Lucca (Lu), Italy. E-mail:

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins