Apathy in untreated, de novo patients with Parkinson’s disease: validation study of Apathy Evaluation Scale
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Apathy is a behavioural disturbance occurring alone or in concomitance with depression in Parkinson’s disease (PD). Here we present a validation study for the self-report version of the Apathy Evaluation Scale (AES-S), carried out in a sample of 60 non-demented, non-depressed untreated, drug-naïve, de novo PD patients; 20 patients of the sample (33.3 %) were classified as apathetic according to current clinical criteria. All enrolled patients completed the AES-S and a neurological and cognitive assessment. Mean AES-S score was 34.43. AES-S did not show floor or ceiling effect. Cronbach’s alpha was 0.872. Principal component analysis revealed three factors: the first (34.4 % of the variance) represented constitutive aspects of the construct of apathy; the second (8.5 % of the variance) represented a social dimension; the third factor (7.9 % of the variance) represented a dimension related to insight. With respect to clinical criteria for apathy considered as the gold standard, receiver operating characteristics curve analysis showed that a cut-off of 36/37 has the maximum discrimination power. High sensitivity and negative predictive values were obtained with cut-off scores of 33/34 or lower; high specificity and positive predictive values were obtained with cut-off scores of 38/39 or higher. AES-S score correlated with scores on frontal tasks, but not on Beck Depression Inventory, Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale, Hoehn and Yahr scale. The AES-S is a reliable and valid questionnaire for detecting apathy in PD. For screening purposes a 33/34 cut-off score is indicated, but a 38/39 cut-off score is necessary when a high specificity is desired.
KeywordsParkinson’s disease Nonmotor symptoms Apathy Apathy Evaluation Scale Validation study Frontal executive dysfunctions
Conflicts of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
The present study has been performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki.
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