Older people who have apathy but not depression may have smaller brain volumes than those without apathy. This is according to a new study published in the April 16, 2014, online issue of NeurologyÂ®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Apathy is a lack of interest or emotion. "Just as signs of memory loss may signal brain changes related to brain disease, apathy may indicate underlying changes," said Lenore J. Launer, PhD, with the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD, and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. "Apathy symptoms are common in older people without dementia. And the fact that participants in our study had apathy without depression should turn our attention to how apathy alone could indicate brain disease." Launer's team used brain volume as a measure of accelerated brain aging. Brain volume losses occur during normal aging, but in this study, larger amounts of brain volume loss could indicate brain diseases. For the study, 4,354 people without dementia and with an average age of 76 underwent an MRI scan. They were also asked questions that measure apathy symptoms, which include lack of interest, lack of emotion, dropping activities and interests, preferring to stay at home and having a lack of energy. The study found that people with two or more apathy symptoms had 1.4 percent smaller gray matter volume and 1.6 percent less white matter volume compared to those who had less than two symptoms of apathy. Excluding people with depression symptoms did not change the results. Gray matter is where learning takes place and memories are stored in the brain. White matter acts as the communication cables that connect different parts of the brain. "If these findings are confirmed, identifying people with apathy earlier may be one way to target an at-risk group," Launer said. The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute on Aging, theIcelandic Heart Association and the Icelandic Parliament.Source: Newswise << Researchers Discover How Intestinal Cells Build Nutrient-Ab... At Least 1 in 20 Adults Misdiagnosed in Outpatient Clinics ... >> Recommended Reading Wonder Pill to Keep You Slim, Avoid Diabetes and Ward Off Old Age, Coming Soon A pill that could help people lose weight, avoid diabetes and even hold off the effects of old age is being created by a team of researchers. READ MORE Sports and Physical Activity in School Could Equal Health in Old Age Boys who get involved in sports and other physical activities in schools are more healthy and active in their old age than those who don't, a new study revealed READ MORE Stay Fit and Healthy in Old Age Experts have written down five golden rules for a healthy lifestyle which according to them are a key to staying healthy and fit during old age. READ MORE Ataxia Ataxia affects coordination. Gait becomes unstable and the patient loses balance. The cerebellum or its inputs and/or outputs are affected. READ MORE Is Your Man Moody? Women get confused by the behavior of men in their lives. It is time they realize that men too have frequent mood swings. READ MORE Parkinsons Disease Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease caused by progressive dopamine brain cells loss. Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are correctable to an extent. READ MORE Most Popular on Medindia Drug Interaction Checker Hearing Loss Calculator Find a Doctor More News on: Parkinsons DiseaseParkinsons Disease Surgical TreatmentSenior Health FactsBrainBrain FactsAtaxiaIs Your Man Moody?