Fong TG, Jones RN, Shi P, Marcantonio ER, Yap L, Rudolph JL, Yang FM, Kiely DK, Inouye SK.
Delirium accelerates cognitive decline in Alzheimer disease.
Neurology. 2009 May 5;72(18):1570-5.
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Post-anesthesia delirium has long been noted to be related to significant cognitive decline in the elderly. I am thrilled to see exploration of this phenomenon. It is devastating that a simple, medically necessary surgery leads so many on a downward spiral from which they never recover. I hope this eventually leads to the development of anesthesia drugs that are less likely to contribute to this rapid decline.
This retrospective analysis indicates that episodes of delirium are associated with an increased rate of disease progression in dementia. This is one of the few factors shown to influence rate of disease progression. Delirium is a syndrome with multiple underlying mechanisms to the specific mechanism responsible for acceleration of AD progression is uncertain. More information about the nature of the delirium might suggest brain abnormalities leading to rapid AD progression and vulnerability to delirium.