The neurology of decreased activity: Abulia

Shivani Ghoshal, Sankalp Gokhale, Gail Rebovich, Louis R. Caplan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Delirium is sometimes defined as acute onset of either overactivity or underactivity. This article reviews the nature and clinico-anatomical locations of lesions in patients with reduced activity. The term abulia is used to describe global underactivity. Abulia is customarily explained by interruptions in frontal-subcortical circuitry. These interruptions can occur with lesions in the frontal lobes, caudate nuclei, midbrain, and thalamus. The article describes the anatomy of frontal and subcortical circuits and reviews in detail individual cases and series of patients with reduced initiative and activity who have had localized central nervous system lesions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e55-e67
JournalReviews in Neurological Diseases
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011


  • Abulia
  • Akinesia
  • Apathy
  • Caudate nucleus
  • Delirium
  • Frontal lobe
  • Substantia nigra
  • Thalamus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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