Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Neurodegenerative diseases are increasingly recognised to be an important cause of brain disorders, particularly in late age. Associated with a wide range of pathologies, they lead to progressive loss of neurons in different regions of the nervous system. Although anhedonia is common in a variety of neurodegenerative diseases, to date it has not been extensively studied in most of these conditions. Here we review the current literature on studies assessing the association between anhedonia and neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson's Disease, Dementia with Lewy Bodies, Parkinson's Plus Syndromes, Alzheimer's Disease, Vascular Dementia, Frontotemporal Dementia, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Huntington's Disease. Much of the research has been conducted in Parkinson's disease where it is evident that there are strong links between apathy (loss of motivation) and anhedonia, although the two syndromes can be dissociated. Intriguingly, drugs that improve apathy can also lead to amelioration of anhedonia in some cases. Overlaps between the two syndromes may also exist across other neurodegenerative conditions, including Frontotemporal Dementia in which imaging has revealed atrophy of both common brain regions associated with anhedonia and apathy, as well as a set of unique brain regions associated with anhedonia. A transdiagnostic perspective might be helpful to investigate whether a common network of brain regions is dysfunctional with anhedonia across neurodegenerative conditions.

Original publication




Journal article


Curr Top Behav Neurosci

Publication Date



Alzheimer’s disease, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Apathy, Dementia with Lewy bodies, Depression, Frontotemporal dementia, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Parkinson’s plus syndromes, Vascular dementia