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Are delirium and dementia related?

Dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease) affects nearly 7 million Americans, leading to total loss of memory and the inability to function independently. Delirium is a serious state of confusion, commonly experienced by elder Americans following surgery or serious illness. It complicates hospital stays for more than 2.5 million elder Americans yearly.

The two diseases have mostly been viewed as separate and distinct conditions; however, a recent Medical Sciences journal examines how they may be related. Recent studies suggest that delirium may cause permanent injury to the brain and result in a higher likelihood of dementia.

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