Delirium is a disorder of acute onset with fluctuating symptoms and is characterized by inattention, disorganized thinking, and altered levels of consciousness. The risk for delirium is greatest in individuals with dementia, and the incidence of both is increasing worldwide because of the aging of our population. Although several clinical trials have tested interventions for delirium prevention in individuals without dementia, little is known about the mechanisms for the prevention of delirium in early-stage Alzheimer's disease (AD). The purpose of this article is to explore ways of preventing delirium and slowing the rate of cognitive decline in early-stage AD by enhancing cognitive reserve. An agenda for future research on interventions to prevent delirium in individuals with early-stage AD is also presented.
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