Predictors of apathy in Parkinson’s diseaseSupport this project
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a brain disorder that affects many people in our society. It is now clear that a major determinant of quality of life for people with PD are so-called non-motor problems, which range from mood disturbance to cognitive decline and dementia.
One of the most important of these non-motor problems is apathy – or loss of motivation. Apathy substantially reduces the quality of life of both patients and their families. Although we know it occurs commonly, the relationship between apathy and different stages of PD is poorly understood, as are the changes in normal brain mechanisms that lead to the development of apathy.
In this project, we utilise our existing dataset, in which patients with PD have been followed over many years with comprehensive assessments of thinking and brain imaging, to investigate how apathy rates change across the time-course of PD, and what factors can predict its development. We hope this research will ultimately translate into successful interventions to treat, or minimise the impact of apathy in PD.
Dr Le Heron is a neurologist with a strong interest in cognitive disorders and the normal neural processes that underlie these deficits. He completed my undergraduate medical studies at the University of Otago, and subsequently undertook Neurology advanced training in Melbourne, Australia and a Fellowship in Oxford, UK.