Rapid-onset Apathy May Be the Only Clinical Manifestation After Dorsal Striatum Hemorrhagic Lesion: A Case Report

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Apathy is a common clinical feature of stroke patients and it is often correlated with cognitive deficits, functional impairment and depression. Here we report the case of a 70-year-old woman with no history of neuropsychiatric disorders who showed abrupt onset of pure apathy after the onset of a right brain vascular lesion located in the head of the caudate nucleus, the anterior part of the putamen, and the genu and the anterior limb of the internal capsule. A complete neuropsychological and neurological examination did not show deficits. A comprehensive neuropsychiatric assessment focusing on the post-stroke hospitalization period showed severe motor, cognitive and affective apathy with no depression or other neuropsychiatric symptoms. This case highlights the key role of the dorsal striatum in the development of pure apathy, possibly due to its function in regulating approach-attachment behavior, affect and initiative, which are the emotional, cognitive and motor dimensions of apathy.

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