- Community-dwelling older adults with severe apathy at baseline had nearly double the risk for probable dementia over the course of 9 years.
Why this matters
- Effective options for preventing and treating dementia are lacking.
- Apathy at baseline (Apathy Evaluation Scale):
- Low in 38%.
- Moderate in 37%.
- Severe in 25%.
- Incidence of probable dementia overall: 18.9%.
- Probable dementia in those with severe vs low apathy:
- Incidence: 25% vs 14%.
- Unadjusted HR: 1.9 (95% CI, 1.5-2.5).
- aHR: 1.8 (95% CI, 1.3-2.3).
- No significant adjusted association for those with moderate apathy.
- Severe vs low apathy groups:
- Worse baseline cognition on Digit Symbol Substitution Test (difference, 1.6 points; P=.029).
- Worse baseline cognition on Modified Mini Mental State Examination (difference, 0.9 points; P=.019).
- Similar rate of change in these measures over time.
- US prospective, observational cohort study of 2018 White and Black community-dwelling older adults (mean age, 74 years; Health, Aging, and Body Composition study).
- Main outcome: probable dementia (dementia medication use, hospital records, or clinically relevant cognitive decline on global cognition) at 9 years of follow-up.
- Funding: National Institute on Aging.
- Use of an algorithm to identify patients with dementia.
- Apathy was self-reported.
- Limited information available on depression.