Apathy and Disinhibition Related to Neuropathology in Amnestic Versus Behavioral Dementias

Letizia G. Borges*, Alfred W. Rademaker, Eileen H. Bigio, M. Marsel Mesulam, Sandra Weintraub

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objectives: Investigating the frequency of apathy and disinhibition in patients clinically diagnosed with dementia of the Alzheimer type (DAT) or behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) with neuropathology of either Alzheimer disease (AD) or frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). Methods: Retrospective data from 887 cases were analyzed, and the frequencies of apathy and disinhibition were compared at baseline and longitudinally in 4 groups: DAT/AD, DAT/FTLD, bvFTD/FTLD, and bvFTD/AD. Results: Apathy alone was more common in AD (33%) than FTLD (25%), and the combination of apathy and disinhibition was more common in FTLD (43%) than AD (14%; P <.0001). Over time, apathy became more frequent in AD with increasing dementia severity (33%-41%; P <.006). Conclusions: Alzheimer disease neuropathology had the closest association with the neuropsychiatric symptom of apathy, while FTLD was most associated with the combination of apathy and disinhibition. Over time, the frequency of those with apathy increased in both AD and FTLD neuropathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-343
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • apathy
  • apolipoprotein E4
  • disinhibition
  • frontotemporal dementia
  • frontotemporal lobar degeneration
  • neuropsychiatric symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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