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Delirium may be a red flag for dementia in older people

26 Oct 2019

In hospitalized older adults with acute illness, the incidence of delirium carries a twofold greater odds of developing dementia postdischarge, a retrospective study has found.

Researchers reviewed the medical records of 309 acutely ill elderly patients (mean age, 78 years; 60 percent female). None of the patients showed cognitive decline on admission.

Delirium was detected in 66 patients (21 percent). These patients were more likely to be totally dependent for activities of daily living (44 percent vs 14 percent; p<0.001), malnourished (36 percent vs 24 percent; p<0.001), have higher levels of C-reactive protein (78 vs 51 g/dL; p=0.005) and lower levels of serum albumin on admission (3.04 vs 3.35 mg/dL; p=0.001).

After a median follow-up of 24 months, 21 patients (32 percent) who had experienced delirium developed dementia, while only 38 patients (16 percent) of those without delirium had the same outcome (p=0.003).

Multivariate competing-risk proportional-hazard models showed delirium to be independently associated with postdischarge dementia, yielding a subhazard ratio of 1.94 (95 percent CI, 1.10–3.44; p=0.022).

The findings suggest that delirium is as an independent and potentially preventable risk factor for cognitive decline, highlighting the importance of systematic initiatives to fight the syndrome, according to the researchers. Additional studies on the possible biomarkers and neuropathologic substrata of the delirium-to-dementia pathway, as well as clinical trials exploring whether delirium prevention effectively reduces incident dementia, are needed.

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Most Read Articles
Stephen Padilla, 2 days ago
The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic appears to have a significant impact on oncological care, according to a study, which stresses the need for psycho-oncological support for cancer patients.
01 Aug 2020
Supplementation with probiotics may have positive effects in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), reports a recent meta-analysis.
01 Aug 2020
Ensituximab, a chimeric monoclonal antibody targeting a variant of MUC5AC, shows modest clinical activity with good safety profile in patients with refractory colorectal cancer, according to data from a phase II study.
Roshini Claire Anthony, 30 Jul 2020

Frailty may indicate an increased risk of death from COVID-19, results of the COPE* study showed.