Fending off delirium

Taking daily walks and talking about current events can lower the risk of delirium in the elderly, according to a study published April 25 in Archives of Internal Medicine. What’s more, sticking to a regimen of such activities appears to be as important as taking one’s pills on time.

“It has been well-established that compliance with drug treatments is very important for their effectiveness, but the effect of compliance with non-drug treatments has not been studied before this report,” said Sharon K. Inouye, M.D., M.P.H. ’89, professor of medicine and geriatrics. “It really does lend credence to the fact that the amount of nonpharmacologic therapy patients receive is just as important as drug therapy, where a dose-response relationship is expected.”

Patients ages 70 or older who complied with the intervention, which also included word games, fluids for rehydration and improvements in sleep, vision and hearing, showed an 89 percent reduction in delirium risk.

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