Dementia is the general term for a cluster of symptoms associated with brain decline that gets progressively worse over time. Unfortunately, there is no known cure or way to prevent dementia but progress has been made to identify the underlying risk factors. The value in discovering risk factors of dementia as early as possible is that it presents an opportunity to try and mitigate the risk.
The team followed participants up over nine years and found 381 volunteers developed likely dementia.
They found that severe apathy was linked with an increased risk of dementia compared to low apathy.
Apathy was also associated with worse memory and thinking at the beginning of the study, but not rate of change over time.
Commenting on the findings, Dr Sara Imarisio, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Symptoms of apathy are common in dementia and are not necessarily symptoms of depression.
“Many people with dementia are mistakenly diagnosed as having depression, particularly in the early stages.
“Building a better understanding of some of the less well-recognised symptoms of dementia, like apathy, could inform our efforts to develop better treatments for the condition.”
According to Alzheimer’s UK, doing regular physical activity is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of dementia.
“It’s good for your heart, circulation, weight and mental wellbeing,” explains the charity.
Each week, you should aim for either:
- 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, riding a bike or pushing a lawnmower, or
- 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, such as jogging, fast swimming or riding a bike up a hill.