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Delirium in Older Patients after Surgery May Lead to Long-Term Cognitive Decline

BOSTON— July 14, 2016— Researchers from the Harvard Medical School - affiliated Hebrew SeniorLife Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research have found increasing evidence that delirium in older surgical patients may be associated with long-term cognitive decline. Findings from the study were published today in the July 2016 issue of Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.

“This study is highly significant in demonstrating that delirium is associated with subsequent long-term cognitive decline at a pace similar to that of mild cognitive impairment, even in those with normal cognitive function at baseline,” says Sharon K. Inouye, M.D., M.P.H., Director of the Aging Brain Center at the Marcus Institute, Hebrew SeniorLife, a faculty member in the Division of Gerontology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Whether or not delirium is causative, it identifies those at risk for subsequent cognitive decline and warrants both close clinical follow-up and preventive interventions.”