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Delirium 'accelerated memory decline' for Alzheimer's sufferers

Delirium 'accelerated memory decline' for Alzheimer's sufferers
7th May 2009

People suffering from Alzheimer's disease are more likely to experience more rapid cognitive decline if they develop delirium, a new study has revealed.

According to the research carried out by the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Hebrew Senior Life, it was found that the rate of this neurodegeneration was three times more rapid among Alzheimer's patients than those without an episode of delirium.

Lead author Tamara Fong stated: "In other words, the amount of decline you might expect to see in an Alzheimer's patient over the course of 18 months would be accelerated to 12 months following an episode of delirium."

The condition, the team stated, often develops in elderly patients during hospitalisation or serious illness and an acute state of confusion can arise, with scientists long-suspecting there to be a link between the condition and dementia.

The Alzheimer's Society in Norwich is pioneering a scheme to try and slow down this neurodegenerative decline in sufferers of dementia by bringing old toys and items from years gone by, hoping to rekindle memories in everyone affected by the condition.

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