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Researchers effectively measure apathy in MND

MND Scotland-funded researchers have shown a new tool to be effective at measuring behavioural changes in MND

Posted : 10/03/2020

MND Scotland funded researchers have validated the ‘brief Dimensional Apathy Scale’ (b-DAS), a short clinical assessment for apathy, which can occur in people living with motor neurone disease (MND).

Apathy is a prominent and impactful behavioural symptom in MND, which can best be described as a lack of motivation.

Apathy can affect people in three different areas: through a lack of motivation for planning, organising and paying attention to tasks, a lack of motivation for thinking of new ideas, or being emotionally neutral to what is going on around them.

To help identify apathy in busy clinical and research settings, Dr Ratko Radakovic and Professor Sharon Abrahams, of the University of Edinburgh and the University of East Anglia, have developed the b-DAS as a short test to quickly measure these behavioural problems, which can happen in people with MND and other conditions.

Dr Ratko Radakovic: "It is really great to have validated the brief Dimensional Apathy Scale for wider use. Quicker, more inclusive and robust identification of motivational problems in clinics will allow for people with MND and their families or caregivers to get support they might need at times when they might need it the most.”

What does this mean?

The validation of the b-DAS as a tool to assess apathy means that there is now evidence which supports this test being adopted more widely as a clinical tool.

The research shows that the b-DAS is a robust and accurate measure for apathy in MND, and is quick to administer, so is suitable for busy clinical settings.

Further information

Information and b-DAS

Validation paper

Development paper

quote marks

“Quicker, more inclusive and robust identification of motivational problems in clinics will allow for people with MND and their families or caregivers to get support they might need at times when they might need it the most.”

Dr Ratko Radakovic

Dr Ratko Radakovic

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