Behavioural and emotional symptoms of apathy are associated with distinct patterns of brain atrophy in neurodegenerative disorders

Stanton, Biba R, Leigh, P Nigel, Howard, Robert J, Barker, Gareth J and Brown, Richard G (2013) Behavioural and emotional symptoms of apathy are associated with distinct patterns of brain atrophy in neurodegenerative disorders. Journal of Neurology, 260 (10). pp. 2481-2490. ISSN 0340-5354

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Abstract

Apathy is a neurocognitive syndrome of reduced goal-directed behaviour and is an important cause of disability in neurodegenerative disorders. Frontal-subcortical dysfunction is thought to be important in apathy, but the contribution of individual brain regions to different aspects of the apathy syndrome is poorly understood. We aimed to test the hypotheses that apathy in two distinct neurodegenerative disorders would be associated with frontal lobe atrophy and that reduced initiative and emotional blunting would be associated with distinct patterns of atrophy in functionally relevant brain areas. Seventeen patients with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and 17 patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) underwent structural MRI scanning at 3 T to provide data for voxel based morphometric analysis. Apathy was defined using Robert's 2009 diagnostic criteria and specific symptoms were assessed with the Apathy Inventory. Patients with and without apathy were matched for important demographic and clinical characteristics. Apathy was associated with atrophy of the ventromedial orbitofrontal cortex and left insula in both AD and PSP. Reduced initiative was specifically associated with atrophy of the anterior cingulate and ventrolateral orbitofrontal cortex whilst emotional blunting was specifically associated with atrophy of the left insula. These findings provide further support for the role of medial frontal regions and insular cortex in apathy and suggest that behavioural and emotional aspects of the apathy syndrome may have distinct neuroanatomical bases.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Structural MRI, Voxel based morphometry, Progressive supranuclear palsy, Alzheimer's disease
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Neuroscience
Subjects: R Medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neurosciences. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry > RC0346 Neurology. Diseases of the nervous system Including speech disorders
Depositing User: Patricia Butler
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2015 11:49
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2017 18:24
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/54185
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