A new study has found that a drop in motivation and goal-specific behavior might be linked to a greater risk of dementia among older people. As per the study, ways to treat apathy in old people might decrease neurodegeneration as they age. This study has been put together by scientists from the University of California, San Francisco. It has been published in the journal Neurology. It is a medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Experts have warned that apathy can be very dangerous for a family member when they no longer want to associate with friends and family and do not feel good about things that they used to enjoy earlier.
Dr. Meredith Bock and her colleagues have said that people with higher levels of apathy are 80 percent more likely to be diagnosed with dementia as compared to those who have lower levels of apathy. They have come up with these findings after including factors like age, education other risks linked to dementia. Many experts have studied depression as a major predictor of dementia. However, the authors of the study have said that apathy should be considered as an independent factor for dementia. Experts have said that apathy is an early sign of dementia and it can be determined through a simple questionnaire. Data from different reports revealed that nearly 5 million people in the US who are 65 years or above had been dealing with dementia in 2014. Experts believe that the figure will go up to nearly 14 million by 2060. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well, has predicted the same.
Experts have said that more studies on apathy being an early sign of dementia might help in finding ways to treat the early onset of dementia in the future. Experts have said that the findings of the study show that apathy is an early sign of this disorder, which can be called the prodromal stage. In this stage, people stay fully functional. The early signs of dementia such as weak memory and confusion cannot be identified through interviews and testing. That is why healthcare professionals usually end up treating the disease quite late. The authors of the study have said that determining which traits are actually linked with an onset of dementia years later is an important step to understand the prodromal stage of the disorder. The new study has included data from a cohort of the age, health, and body composition study. This study has been done on 2018 adults who have been in the age range of 74 years. None of the participants of the study has been diagnosed with dementia earlier.