Problem of delirium with hospital stays (Boston Globe, 2-12-07)

There is an article in today’s (2/12/07) edition of The Boston Globe newspaper ( about the danger of hospital stays for the elderly and those with dementia.

Here’s the article in a nutshell:

“Doctors used to believe that delirium was a short-lived problem for older, hospitalized patients. But research now suggests that delirium — a sudden, serious mental confusion — can linger for months and can increase the likelihood of more serious mental decline, including dementia…  Patients with dementia are at least five times more likely to experience delirium while hospitalized than patients with sound minds.”

Also, the article draws attention to the anesthetic isoflurane. This inhaled anesthetic was mentioned in the article on anesthesia and Alzheimer’s that I circulated earlier this year.

Here’s a link to the article:

An end’s beginning
More than half of all elderly hospitalized patients suffer severe confusion. Many ultimately decline into dementia. Are there common triggers to both?
By Alice Dembner, Globe Staff
The Boston Globe
February 12, 2007

Rather alarming reading!