Cognitive decline triggered by hospital

A study of nearly 1900 people aged 65 years or older living in Chicago showed being admitted to hospital led to accelerated decline in global cognitive scores.

The individuals were tracked for more than nine years, during which 71% were hospitalised at least once.

Dementia experts assessed cognitive function three to five times during the period, adjusting the results for pre-hospital cognitive decline and other factors including the severity of illness.

They found a 3.3-fold increase in the rate of episodic memory decline and a 1.7-fold decline in executive function associated with hospital stays.

This was likely to be an underestimate, the researchers said.

“Because late life loss of cognitive function is a substantial and growing public health problem, understanding its link to an event as common as hospitalisation is extremely important,” the authors wrote.

They noted that loss of independence in daily