Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Apathy common in dementia patients with brain changes

02.12.2009
Dementia patients with a certain type of changes in their brain's white matter are more likely to be apathetic than those who do not have these changes, reveals a patient study carried out by the Sahlgrenska Academy and Sahlgrenska University Hospital.

Changes in the brain's white matter are common among the elderly and dementia patients, and often appear as blurred patches on CT and MRI images.

"A likely explanation for the changes is that the small blood vessels that supply the white matter are not working as they should," says Michael Jonsson, PhD-student at the Sahlgrenska Academy and consultant psychiatrist at Sahlgrenska University Hospital's memory clinic. "This results in that the long nerve fibres and their fatty sheaths degenerate."

Apathy is one of the most common psychological problems associated with dementia. Just over half of all dementia patents are emotionally blunted and lack motivation and initiative. This new study shows that this apathy is far more common in patients who have the characteristic changes in the brain. This discovery suggests that there is a common biological reason behind this apathy, irrespective of which type of dementia a patient has. The changes are located deep in the brain and primarily affect the neural pathways that run from this part of the brain to the frontal lobes, which are important for taking the initiative and the ability to plan.

"Even though we think we know a bit about which pathways are affected in cases of apathy, we still need to find out more about the anatomy and chemistry behind the development of these symptoms," says Jonsson. "This is vital if we are to develop medication to treat apathy."

The study involved 176 patients with Alzheimer's, vascular dementia or mixed dementia. 82 per cent of the patients with changes in their white matter were apathetic, while 58 per cent of all of the dementia patients were apathetic.

Given that apathy reduces quality of life for patients with dementia and increases the risk of institutionalisation, a great deal of research is under way to find a treatment. Treatments that do not involve medication, such as increased physical exercise, cognitive stimulation and massage, do not seem to work.

"Some studies have shown that the medicines currently used for Alzheimer's can have a positive impact on apathy in other types of dementia too," says Jonsson. "Other medicines may also be of interest, but we need to carry out more research in this area."

DEMENTIA
The most common symptoms of dementia are forgetfulness, impaired speech and problems with recognition and orientation. It is a condition that can affect all our mental faculties and that is more common as we get older. Around seven per cent of the Swedish population over the age of 65 and just over 20 per cent of the over-80s have severe dementia.
For more information, please contact:
Michael Jonsson, doctoral student at the Sahlgrenska Academy and doctor at Sahlgrenska University Hospital's memory clinic, tel: +46 31 343 8667, mobile: +46 70 729 3389, e-mail: michael.jonsson@vgregion.se

Journal: International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry

Title of the article: Apathy is a prominent neuropsychiatric feature of radiological white-matter changes in patients with dementia

Authors: M Jonsson, Å Edman, K Lind, S Rolstad, M Sjögren and A Wallin
Int J Geriatr Psychiatry, 22 Oct 2009 [Epub ahead of print]

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://www.sahlgrenska.gu.se/

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microhotplates for a smart gas sensor

22.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Scientists unlock ability to generate new sensory hair cells

22.02.2017 | Life Sciences

Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars

22.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>