Demotivation, or apathy, is common and observed in different neurodegenerative diseases. It is defined by a lack of motivation that can be seen in all aspects of an individual’s functioning. The Demotivation in Dementia: Development and Validation of a New Scale study is looking to explore different types of apathy/demotivation in people living with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Dr Ratko Radakovic, Chief Investigator of the study, fills us in with more detail.

Dr Ratko Radakovic, Chief Investigator of this study

Dr Ratko Radakovic, Chief Investigator of this study

This study is looking to explore the different types of demotivation or apathy in people with Alzheimer’s. For example, these might fall into categories associated with people not wanting to start a task, that where people start but find it difficult to keep going and where people feel emotionally indifferent or neutral about their own behaviour and how others’ perceive them.

Common measures of apathy fail to distinguish between these different types of demotivation. We therefore previously designed and validated a new questionnaire that seeks to distinguish between these different types of demotivation in healthy people. So an additional aim of the study is to further develop this questionnaire as a tool to assess these different types of apathy/demotivation.

The study is a one-off, purely postal questionnaire based, taking no longer than 20 minutes. People living with Alzheimer’s disease and their family members are sent a pack containing information about the study and also questionnaires to complete about mood and motivation. The people living with Alzheimer’s disease are asked to complete questionnaires about their own motivation and mood, while their family member is asked to complete questionnaires about their observations of their family member with dementia’s motivation and mood.  Participants can then send the completed questionnaires back in a pre-paid return envelope provided in the pack.

We hope that this will give valuable insights into different types of apathy, while also increasing awareness of how complex apathy is and burdensome apathy can be to people living with Alzheimer’s disease and their families.

Further to this, we would hope that it would encourage clinicians to look at different types of apathy more comprehensively, as it might help with management of symptoms as a whole.

The study is based at the University of Edinburgh, with funding from the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre and the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic.

Eligibility

People with a diagnosis of very mild to moderate Alzheimer disease without marked cognitive impairment; and living in Scotland.
Family members of participants with dementia are also invited to take part by completing supporting questionnaires.


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