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Effect of non-pharmacological intervention for apathy: response to one-on-one reminiscence-based intervention


Apathy has adverse consequences for patients and caregivers. However, the therapeutic approach remains uncertain. Here, we present the case of a man aged 67 years who only developed apathy after surgery for oesophageal cancer. He showed no response to intervention with donepezil, a ‘brain training’ video game and psychoeducation for apathy. Subsequently, we implemented a programme designed to facilitate recall of 2 themes (editorial content and television shows during the week) once a week. After 3 months, the scores of 2 apathy scales rated by the patient's wife, psychological test scores and brain perfusion single-photon emission CT data improved compared with those obtained before intervention. These results may be attributable to activated 2-way communication as well as benefits of reminiscence therapy, as seen in patients with dementia. Further studies are needed to develop additional non-pharmacological interventions that activate 2-way communication for apathetic patients in ways appropriate to their interests and comorbidities.

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