With millions of people impacted worldwide, dementia costs individuals hundreds of billions of dollars each year. Research is urgently needed to identify at-risk individuals and target interventions to reduce the public health burden of dementia.
Delirium and Dementia
Patients with delirium are at higher risk to develop subsequent mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias. Delirium affects more than 50 percent of all hospitalized older adults and costs the United States $152 billion annually. Despite the widespread impact of these disorders, how delirium increases the risk for dementia remains a mystery.
One potential approach to probing this relationship is to study patients who are hospitalized in the intensive care unit (ICU), as these patients are at high risk for developing both disorders. In fact, the cognitive sequelae which develop in intensive care unit delirium survivors is a defining feature of a common, debilitating disorder known as post-intensive care syndrome (PICS). The Department of Psychiatry at Indiana University School of Medicine strives to understand the relationship between intensive care unit delirium and dementia.