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Cognitive correlates of apathy in traumatic brain injury.

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  • 1Sunnaas Rehabilitation Hospital, Oslo, Norway. stein.anderson@sunnaas.no

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate the relation between apathy and cognitive deficits in patients with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI).

BACKGROUND:

Apathy defined as reduced goal-directed behavior due to lack of motivation constitutes a major neuropsychiatric symptom following TBI. According to definition, apathy should not be associated with global cognitive reduction, but rather with specific areas of cognitive dysfunction.

METHODS:

results from the Apathy Evaluation Scale (AES) and a comprehensive neuropsychologic assessment were collected in up to 53 patients with severe TBI. Neuropsychologic tests were organized in the following seven areas of cognitive function: acquisition and memory, attention span, executive function, psychomotor speed, verbal skills, nonverbal skills, and motor speed.

RESULTS:

Apathy score was significantly correlated with reduced performance on acquisition and memory, psychomotor speed, and executive functions. A principal component analysis showed that these specific areas of cognitive functions clustered together with the cognitive dimension of apathy, not with behavioral or emotional aspects of apathy.

CONCLUSIONS:

Apathy is associated with specific cognitive deficits related to frontal lobe dysfunction. The results are in accordance with the definition of apathy and confirm apathy-cognitive function relationships reported in other neurologic populations.

PMID:
12218711
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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