The Effectiveness of the Geriatric Depression Scale to Distinguish Apathy From Depression in Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias.

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Early detection of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and related dementias in the elderly is critical for improving treatment methods and is a necessary component for improving public health interventions. One of the earliest and most common behavioral syndromes of AD is apathy and is associated with executive dysfunction. Apathy in AD is often misdiagnosed as depression due to an overlap in symptoms. Studies that have found depression to be associated with executive dysfunction have not always controlled for the presence of apathy. The Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) is a widely used instrument designed to assess depression in the elderly. This study ... continued below

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Davis, Tommy E., Jr. August 2008.

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  • Davis, Jr., Tommy E.

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Early detection of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and related dementias in the elderly is critical for improving treatment methods and is a necessary component for improving public health interventions. One of the earliest and most common behavioral syndromes of AD is apathy and is associated with executive dysfunction. Apathy in AD is often misdiagnosed as depression due to an overlap in symptoms. Studies that have found depression to be associated with executive dysfunction have not always controlled for the presence of apathy. The Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) is a widely used instrument designed to assess depression in the elderly. This study utilized the GDS and a set of standard neuropsychological instruments to investigate the relationship between apathy, depression, and executive functions in individuals with AD and related dementias. The first objective of this study was to determine if apathy has a greater impact on executive functions compared to depression in AD and related dementias. The second objective was to determine the effectiveness of the GDS as a screen for apathy. The results of the analyses did not support the hypotheses. However, exploratory analyses suggested a possible non-linear relationship with apathy and various levels of dementia severity. Exploratory analysis also suggested mean levels of endorsement for apathy varied by diagnosis. Further research is warranted to investigate this relationship and the GDS endorsement patterns for caregivers regarding their impression of the demented individual.

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  • August 2008

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  • May 11, 2009, 8:07 p.m.

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  • July 8, 2015, 2:40 p.m.

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Davis, Tommy E., Jr. The Effectiveness of the Geriatric Depression Scale to Distinguish Apathy From Depression in Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias., dissertation, August 2008; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9109/: accessed November 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .