Delirium increases rate of mental decline

Delirium increases rate of mental decline

Patients that experience episodes of delirium when hospitalised are more likely to experience an increased rate of mental decline for up to five years.

Researchers at the Institute for Aging Research at Hebrew SeniorLife in the US found that many Alzheimer's patients that are hospitalised have a high prevalence of delirium, which accelerates their cognitive decline for up to five years.

The study is one of the first to examine the effects of delirium for an extended period of time.

It was observed that in the year following an episode of delirium, cognitive deterioration is considerable. In subsequent years, decline takes place at twice the rate of those patients that did not have delirium. This rapid deterioration can continue for five years after hospitalisation.

The findings add to the growing body of evidence that suggests more needs to be done to prevent delirium.

A study at the University of Cambridge previously found that patients with delirium have a chance of developing dementia eight times greater than others

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