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Stroke. 1993 Nov;24(11):1625-30.

Apathy following cerebrovascular lesions.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md.



Although apathy has been reported to constitute a frequent sequela of stroke lesions, there have been no prospective studies on the frequency and correlates of apathy after stroke lesions. In the present study, we examined the frequency and correlates of apathy in a consecutive series of 80 patients with cerebrovascular lesions.


We included patients within the first 10 days after a stroke lesion. Patients were examined with a comprehensive neuropsychiatric battery that included the Apathy Scale.


Eighteen patients (22.5%) showed apathy, nine of whom were also depressed. On the other hand, 18 patients (22.5%) showed depression in the absence of apathy. Although depression and apathy may exist independent of one another, major depression (but not minor depression) was associated with an increased frequency of apathy. Apathy was also significantly associated with older age, cognitive impairments, and deficits in activities of daily living. Finally, apathy was significantly associated with lesions in the posterior limb of the internal capsule.


These findings demonstrate that apathy is a frequent finding among patients with acute stroke lesions and may coexist with important emotional and cognitive poststroke disturbances.

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