Delirium shows its signature

A new blood test could help doctors identify patients at risk for delirium, a sudden, acute state of confusion that most often affects older adults and incurs $6.9 billion in medical costs each year in the U.S. It comes on ...

Jul 28, 2015
popularity10 comments 0

Geriatrician discusses treating trauma in the elderly

One morning five years ago in the parking lot of Rhode Island Hospital, Dr. Michael Ehrlich, chair of orthopaedics in the Alpert Medical School, flagged down Dr. Richard Besdine, a geriatrician and professor of medicine and ...

Aug 19, 2015
popularity30 comments 0

Protecting our brains: Tackling delirium

A new national plan of action provides a roadmap for improving the care of patients with delirium, a poorly understood and often unrecognized brain condition that affects approximately seven million hospitalized Americans ...

Nov 17, 2011
popularity0 comments 0

Delirium or acute confusional state is a common and severe neuropsychiatric syndrome with core features of acute onset and fluctuating course, attentional deficits and generalized severe disorganization of behavior. It typically involves other cognitive deficits, changes in arousal (hyperactive, hypoactive, or mixed), perceptual deficits, altered sleep-wake cycle, and psychotic features such as hallucinations and delusions. It is often caused by a disease process outside the brain, such as infection (urinary tract infection, pneumonia) or drug effects, particularly anticholinergics or other CNS depressants (benzodiazepines and opioids). Although hallucinations and delusions are sometimes present, these are not required for the diagnosis, and the symptoms of delirium are clinically distinct from those induced by psychosis or hallucinogens (with the exception of deliriants.)

Delirium itself is not a disease, but rather a clinical syndrome (a set of symptoms), which result from an underlying disease or new problem with mentation. Like its components (inability to focus attention, mental confusion and various impairments in awareness and temporal and spatial orientation), delirium is simply the common symptomatic manifestation of early brain or mental dysfunction (for any reason). Without careful assessment, delirium can easily be confused with a number of psychiatric disorders because many of the signs and symptoms are conditions present in dementia, depression, and psychosis.

Treatment of delirium requires treatment of the underlying causes. In some cases, temporary or palliative or symptomatic treatments are used to comfort patients or to allow better patient management (for example, a patient who, without understanding, is trying to pull out a ventilation tube that is required for survival). Delirium is probably the single most common acute disorder affecting adults in general hospitals. It affects 10-20% of all hospitalized adults, and 30-40% of elderly hospitalized patients and up to 80% of ICU patients.

This text uses material from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA

Latest Spotlight News

Neuropeptide may be real cause of migraines

A pair of researchers, one with New York University College of Dentistry in New York, the other with King's College in the U.K. has found that a neuropeptide may be responsible for the onset of migraines. In their paper published ...

Elephants provide big clue in fight against cancer

Carlo Maley spends his time pondering pachyderms—and cactuses and whales, and a wide array of non-human species—all in pursuit of the answer to this question: Why do some life forms get cancer while others do not?

Researchers test the brain's number sense perception

Number sense hypothesis holds that the intuitive understanding of numbers is a primary visual property, like color sense or physical orientation. In nature, this refers not to any ability to count, but to visually sense the ...

Researchers build a digital piece of brain

If you want to learn how something works, one strategy is to take it apart and put it back together again. For 10 years, a global initiative called the Blue Brain Project—hosted at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne ...