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J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2009 Summer;21(3):266-70. doi: 10.1176/appi.neuropsych.21.3.266.

Apathy is not depression in Huntington's disease.

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  • 1GGNet Mental Health, Department of Old Age Psychiatry, Sprenge Building, Location Deventerstraat Apeldoorn, P.O. Box 2003, 7230 GC Warnsveld, The Netherlands.


Apathy and depression are common neuropsychiatric features of Huntington's disease. The authors studied a group of 34 Huntington's disease patients. In addition to the conventional classification according to DSM-IV criteria of depression, emphasis was put on a dimensional approach using scores on several different scales. Severe depression was found in 12% and severe apathy in 52% of all study patients. The authors found that apathy and depression are not related and are clearly distinct dimensions. Apathy was related to disease characteristics such as cognitive deterioration and functional decline, whereas depression was not.

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