UF Graduate Student Publishes on Apathy, Depression and Motor Changes in Parkinson’s Disease

2011 Dec 5. [Epub ahead of print]

Mood and motor trajectories in Parkinson’s disease: Multivariate latent growth curve modeling.


Objective: Apathy is a common feature of Parkinson’s disease (PD) that can manifest independently of depression, but little is known about its natural progression in medically managed patients. The present study sought to characterize and compare trajectories of apathy, depression, and motor symptoms in PD over 18 months. Method: Data from a sample of 186 PD patients (mean disease duration of 8.2 years) followed by the University of Florida Movement Disorders Center were obtained from a clinical research database. Scores on the Unified Parkinson’s disease Rating Scale (motor portion), Apathy Scale, and Beck Depression Inventory at three time-points (baseline, 6 months, 18 months) were analyzed in a structural equation modeling framework. Results: A multivariate growth model controlling for age, sex, education, and disease duration identified linear worsening of both apathy (slope estimate = 0.73; p < .001) and motor symptoms (slope estimate = 1.51; p < .001), and quadratic changes in depression (slope estimate = 1.18; p = .07). All symptoms were positively correlated. Higher education was associated with lower apathy, depression, and motor severity. Advanced age was associated with greater motor and apathy severity. Female sex and longer disease duration were associated with attenuated motor worsening. Antidepressant use was associated only with depression scores. Conclusions: These longitudinal results support the differentiation of apathy and depression in PD. Like motor progression, apathy progression may be linked at least partially to dopaminergic neurodegeneration. Empirically supported treatments for apathy in PD are needed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2011 APA, all rights reserved).






[PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

About the Author


Michael Okun

Professor of Neurology, expert on Parkinson's disease and other basal ganglia disorders, deep brain stimulation, author of over 300 research papers and the bestselling book…

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