Apathy in older community-dwelling persons: improving assessment, investigating its association with immune markers, differentiating from depression and fatigue and modelling its longitudinal course
Apathy, or loss of motivation leading to disability, is experienced by many community-dwelling older people, and is one of the most common symptoms of neurological and psychiatric disorders. People with apathy have poorer functioning, cognition and quality of life, yet it is relatively poorly understood and commonly unrecognised. There may be underlying biological causes for apathy, which if understood could help in its diagnosis and treatment. This project thus aims to: provide an in-depth synthesis of previously published studies looking at whether apathy may be associated with the presence of biomarkers; investigate whether apathy, depression and fatigue are distinct phenomena, by examining their longitudinal associations with biomarkers such as cytokines using data from epidemiological cohort studies; and compare methods of measuring apathy by interview, questionnaire and experimental tasks.
Ms Fleur Harrison is a PhD candidate at the University of New South Wales.