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Current Projects

Network for Investigation of Delirium: Unifying Scientists (NIDUS)

NIDUS is a collaborative research network dedicated to spurring innovation and new advances in delirium research through development of new research and measurement resources, training opportunities, pilot funding and dissemination of information.

NIDUS’ unparalleled efforts to advance delirium research include: developing a database of ongoing delirium studies to encourage multi-site collaboration, secondary analyses of existing delirium data, and facilitation of pilot studies; developing resources to help researchers choose and compare tools for assessing delirium and integrate information collected across multiple delirium studies; providing annual pilot grants to encourage innovative research in new areas of study; hosting an intensive training boot camp for researchers new to the field of delirium; and holding an annual scientific symposium for delirium researchers.

It is funded through an award from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Aging (grant no. R24AG054259). You can learn more about NIDUS at our website, and on Twitter @nidus_delirium.

The Center of Excellence for Delirium in Aging: Research, Training and Educational Enhancement (CEDARTREE)

The Center of Excellence for Delirium in Aging: Research, Training and Educational Enhancement (CEDARTREE) was established in 2013. CEDARTREE offered comprehensive interdisciplinary training and mentorship in delirium research and encourages investigators to engage in collaborative, delirium-related, and patient-oriented research. In addition to advancing research and training, CEDARTREE fostered dissemination of research findings, and serves as a local and national resource for delirium research. CEDARTREE efforts have led to the NIDUS project.

RISE (Role of Inflammation after Surgery in Elders)

The RISE study (Role of Inflammation after Surgery in Elders) funded by the Alzheimer Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) seeks to understand the role of inflammation in delirium and long-term cognitive decline. Increasing evidence links neuro-inflammation to Alzheimer’s Disease, post-operative cognitive decline and delirium (acute brain failure). Delirium, which may accelerate cognitive decline possibly mediated by inflammatory mechanisms, often occurs following major physiologic disruptions including medical illness and surgery. RISE will identify risk markers for delirium and cognitive decline and identify biomarkers of inflammation.  This study holds great promise to accelerate anti-inflammatory treatment interventions with the goal of reducing delirium and long-term cognitive decline following surgery.

Successful Aging After Elective Surgery (SAGES)

Surgery and hospitalization in older adults can often lead to delirium, and in turn these patients may develop difficulties in thinking, functioning, and memory. Previous studies have shown these changes occur in 30-40% of older adults. SAGES is designed to examine the risk factors, causes, and duration of these changes in thinking and functioning. The SAGES study is one of the largest of its kind, examining 566 older adults after surgery, and is the first ever Program Project (P01) on delirium funded by the National Institutes of Health. This project collects novel risk markers for delirium, including components from blood samples and brain MRI scans, and examines how cognitive reserve markers might influence delirium or delirium-related outcomes. Ultimately, the results of the study may contribute to finding ways of helping older adults successfully recover after surgery, avoid hospital- and surgery-related complications, and maintain their cognitive abilities. SAGES is funded by NIA grant P01 AG031720 (Inouye).

Better Assessment of Illness (BASIL)

The BASIL study aims to create a new way to measure the severity of delirium. Delirium is preventable and treatable, but good measures of delirium severity are needed to understand the clinical course and recovery, and to test the effectiveness of treatment on relevant clinical outcomes. Severity is a complex topic and may mean different things to patients and those providing care. The results of the BASIL study may ultimately help to reduce healthcare utilization, and to minimize distress to patients and caregiving burden to family members and nurses. BASIL is funded by NIA grant R01 AG044518 (Jones/Inouye).