On Delirium

“Delirium is extremely common, affecting around 120 people in a typical 1000-bedded hospital. People with delirium can lose their bearings, forgetting where they are. They may even become very distressed because they imagine that hospital staff or even visiting relatives are part of a conspiracy to harm them. Delirium is also associated with an increased risk of new and permanent admission to a nursing home, and death. But less than a quarter of cases are formally detected in hospitals.

Delirium is the result of illness – often an infection, a reaction to medications, or an operation – but it has generally been assumed that it is short-lived and benign. This assumption is wrong. Though delirium usually ends when the underlying causes are treated, this new study suggests that it may in fact be associated with new damage to brain, accelerating the path to dementia…”

Daniel Davis writes.