A review of current information and communication technologies: can they be used to assess apathy?

Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2014 Apr;29(4):345-58. doi: 10.1002/gps.4017. Epub 2013 Sep 5.


Background: Neuropsychiatric symptoms, such as apathy, have an important impact on the quality of life of both patients diagnosed with dementia and their caregivers and represent a strong predictor of progression of the illness. Current clinical assessment methods risk bias resulting from the assessor's subjectivity, pointing to a need for additional objective and systematic assessment tools. Therefore, the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) such as actigraphy and automatized video monitoring are of interest in addition to current assessment methods.

Aim: The goal of this study is to give an overview of current assessment tools for apathy in clinical practice and new approaches to assessment methods with the help ICT.

Methods: This study was conducted with the use of narrative literature overview.

Results: There is evidence that apart from the currently used assessment methods for apathy, new ICT approaches could provide clinicians with valuable additional information for an earlier detection and therefore more accurate diagnosis of apathy.

Conclusions: There are no ICT techniques specifically designed for the assessment of apathy, but nevertheless several techniques seem to be promising and deserve more study.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Neuropsychiatric symptoms; apathy; assessment tools; dementia; evaluation; information and communication technologies (ICT); new technologies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology
  • Aged
  • Apathy*
  • Dementia / psychology*
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods*
  • Humans
  • Informatics / methods*
  • Task Performance and Analysis*