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Predicting vulnerability to Alzheimer's disease and delirium

Marked by acute temporary confusion, disorientation and/or agitation, postoperative delirium is the most common post-surgical complication in older adults, striking as many as half of adults older than 65 who undergo high-risk procedures such as cardiac surgery or hip replacements. Postoperative delirium is also tightly linked to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Although each can occur independently, Alzheimer’s is a leading risk factor for delirium, and an episode of delirium puts patients at increased risk for cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. However, the physiological mechanisms linking delirium and Alzheimer’s disease remain largely unknown.

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