Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Delirium has a dramatic impact on older people but is frequently undiagnosed

Date:
September 18, 2012
Source:
University of East Anglia
Summary:
Delirium is widespread among older people but often goes ignored and untreated, according to new research by US and UK researchers including the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Delirium is widespread among older people but often goes ignored and untreated, according to new research by US and UK researchers including the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Published in the September issue of the Journal of Hospital Medicine, the findings show that delirium -- or acute confusion -- is common among older adults in hospitals and nursing homes. It has a negative impact on cognition and independence, significantly increases the risk of developing dementia, and triples the likelihood of death. Yet this common, acute condition is frequently either undiagnosed or accepted as inevitable.

Led by the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University, the research team reviewed 45 years of research encompassing 585 studies. They found that one in three cases of delirium were preventable and are calling for delirium to be identified and treated early to prevent poor long-term prognosis.

"As a geriatric psychiatrist I have seen that around 50 per cent or people with dementia in hospital develop delirium," said co-author Dr Chris Fox, of Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia.

"This is because in addition to having dementia, they have multiple risk factors that can predispose and precipitate delirium -- including serious illnesses and pre-existing cognitive impairment. In addition, hospital staff commonly label the signs as dementia related and do not pick up the delirium."

"We need to develop better mechanisms for diagnosing delirium so that prompt treatment regimes can be initiated."

In general patient groups, more than 60 per cent of delirium cases are not recognised or treated, and significant numbers of elderly patients leave hospital with ongoing delirium which has been missed.

The authors, led by Dr Babar Khan of the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University School of Medicine, said that delirium could be prevented by eliminating restraints, treating depression, ensuring that patients have access to glasses and hearing aids, and prescribing classes of antipsychotics that do not negatively affect the aging brain. They also noted the need for a more sensitive screening tool for delirium, especially when administered by a non-expert.

"Delirium is extremely common among older adults in intensive care units and is not uncommon in other hospital units and in nursing homes, but too often it is ignored or accepted as inevitable," said Dr Khan. "Delirium significantly increases risk of developing dementia and triples likelihood of death. It cannot be ignored."

Co-author Dr Malaz Boustani, of the Regenstrief Institute, Indiana University School of Medicine and Wishard Healthy Aging Brain Center, said: "Having delirium prolongs the length of a hospital stay, increases the risk of post-hospitalization transfer to a nursing home, increases the risk of death and may lead to permanent brain damage."

'Delirium in Hospitalized Patients: Implications of Current Evidence on Clinical Practice and Future Avenues for Research -- A Systematic Evidence Review' by Mohammed Zawahiri (Regenstrief Institute and IU Center for Aging Research), Noll L. Campbell (Regenstrief Institute, Purdue University and Wishard Health Services), Chris Fox (University of East Anglia), Eric Weinstein (Tri-State Pulmonary Associates), Arif Nazir (IU School of Medicine), Mark Farber (IU School of Medicine), John Buckley (IU School of Medicine), and Alasdair MacLullich (University of Edinburgh) is published online by the Journal of Hospital Medicine on September 18.

The study was supported by the National Institute on Aging and the National Institute of Mental Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of East Anglia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mohammed Zawahiri et al. Delirium in Hospitalized Patients: Implications of Current Evidence on Clinical Practice and Future Avenues for Research -- A Systematic Evidence Review. Journal of Hospital Medicine, 2012

Cite This Page:

University of East Anglia. "Delirium has a dramatic impact on older people but is frequently undiagnosed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120918111631.htm>.
University of East Anglia. (2012, September 18). Delirium has a dramatic impact on older people but is frequently undiagnosed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120918111631.htm
University of East Anglia. "Delirium has a dramatic impact on older people but is frequently undiagnosed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120918111631.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins