Severe sepsis can lead to memory problems
October 26th, 2010
04:01 PM ET

Severe sepsis can lead to memory problems

Advances in intensive care medicine are helping older Americans survive severe sepsis, an overwhelming infection, but according to new research these survivors are often left with major memory problems and physical limitations for years after their infection.

Researchers presenting their findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that even older adults who were functioning independently before sepsis often came home from the hospital needing full time care because they now had pre-dementia.

"If you look at the risk of moderate to severe cognitive impairment, people with severe sepsis were three times more likely to develop that after sepsis than before," says study author Theodore Iwashyna, critical care doctor at the University of Michigan Medical School.

The study monitored the health of more than 1,000 older adults who developed sepsis, comparing their physical and mental capabilities when healthy to those after they got sick. The researchers used data from a study nationally representative of older Americans called the Health and Retirement Study and had access to years of detailed health information on the patients.

Previous research often attributed declines in mental and physical health after sepsis to underlying health problems beforehand. But these researchers, finding that even healthy, mentally sharp adults experienced significant declines, suggest that the sepsis itself and the treatment strategies afterwards may be playing a major role in the downturns in health.

"This new disability that people develop is often associated with 40 hours of care a week. People come home from the hospital after having survived and their loved ones have a new full time job," explains Iwashyna. "Overall 60 percent of people had worse function afterwards than they did before," he adds.

Dr. Derek Angus, chairman of the Department of Critical Care Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, wrote an accompanying editorial. He has no ties to the current study and says the research may help change current medical practice. "The major advance in this study is it took a concern that was being raised amongst a number of investigators, but a concern that couldn't be proven and has shown this is very likely a real phenomenon," he said.

Severe sepsis is the most common non-heart related reason for a person to end up in a hospital's intensive care unit. More than 750,000 people in the United States are affected by this condition each year, mostly the elderly. Iwashyna says sepsis can develop in patients with a wide range of illnesses such as pneumonia, diabetes, urinary tract infections, those with compromised immune systems and other health problems.

When someone develops sepsis, instead of attacking the infection at the site, the body mounts an overly aggressive immune response and ends up turning on itself, often damaging vital organs such as the heart, lungs and kidneys. If blood pressure drops too drastically doctors suspect the brain and other vital organ don't get enough oxygen to function properly often leaving people physically and mentally impaired.

Iwashyna says more research is needed to develop better treatment strategies for patients with severe sepsis and therapies to minimize the mental and physical impairments seen in patients. In the mean time he suggests people try to prevent the condition by getting pneumonia and flu vaccines and, if diabetic, getting excellent care.

If a loved one does develop sepsis, it's important to talk to your doctor about physical mobility and rehabilitation exercises, but just as importantly, strategies and therapies to help the brain function better.

soundoff (906 Responses)
  1. motorhome inspection near me


    May 26, 2021 at 13:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. RV Entertainment System Los Angeles

    Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Taking the time and actual effort to produce a very good article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot and never manage to get nearly anything done.


    May 26, 2021 at 14:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. collision repair riverside ca


    May 26, 2021 at 15:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. box truck floor repair


    May 26, 2021 at 16:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. rv a/c repair near me

    Having read this I thought it was really enlightening. I appreciate you spending some time and energy to put this informative article together. I once again find myself personally spending way too much time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


    May 26, 2021 at 18:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. https://www.songmanhits.com

    Best view i have ever seen !


    May 26, 2021 at 20:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. furniture repair stores near me

    Can I simply say what a comfort to uncover somebody that genuinely knows what they're talking about over the internet. You certainly know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people really need to look at this and understand this side of the story. It's surprising you aren't more popular because you certainly have the gift.


    May 27, 2021 at 00:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. RV Mechanics Orange County

    Hi there! I just would like to offer you a big thumbs up for your great info you have got right here on this post. I'll be coming back to your website for more soon.


    May 27, 2021 at 01:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Tritreviewifind

    https://cttadalafil.com/ buy tadalafil https://tadalafilww.com/ – tadalafil dosage prescription tadalafil online

    May 27, 2021 at 02:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. box truck repair shop


    May 27, 2021 at 02:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. fiberglass repair near me


    May 27, 2021 at 06:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Darell Briden

    Very good write-up. I absolutely appreciate this site. Keep it up!


    May 27, 2021 at 08:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. RV Bathroom Los Angeles


    May 27, 2021 at 08:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. RV Batteries Los Angeles

    Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon every day. It will always be exciting to read content from other authors and practice something from their sites.


    May 27, 2021 at 09:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. oc rv dealers


    May 27, 2021 at 13:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Used Forklift Extensions California


    May 27, 2021 at 14:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. RV Windshield Los Angeles


    May 27, 2021 at 16:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Social Media Marketing Experts


    May 27, 2021 at 19:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. what kind of paint to use on a horse trailer

    The very next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesn't disappoint me as much as this particular one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read through, but I genuinely thought you'd have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could fix if you weren't too busy seeking attention.


    May 27, 2021 at 19:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. tv repair san fernando valley

    Saved as a favorite, I really like your blog!


    May 27, 2021 at 22:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Simon Firlik


    May 27, 2021 at 22:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. RV Interior Remodeling California


    May 28, 2021 at 01:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. rv for sale in orange county

    May I just say what a comfort to uncover an individual who actually knows what they're talking about over the internet. You definitely understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important. A lot more people really need to check this out and understand this side of the story. I was surprised you are not more popular given that you definitely possess the gift.


    May 28, 2021 at 01:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. RV Bedroom Riverside


    May 28, 2021 at 02:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Social Media Marketing Companies Near Me


    May 28, 2021 at 03:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. california collision center lancaster

    I'm very happy to discover this page. I want to to thank you for your time just for this fantastic read!! I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it and i also have you saved as a favorite to check out new things in your site.


    May 28, 2021 at 03:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. camper restoration near me


    May 28, 2021 at 04:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. c and o body shop

    Pretty! This has been an extremely wonderful article. Thanks for providing this information.


    May 28, 2021 at 06:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. local rv repair shops

    I needed to thank you for this fantastic read!! I absolutely loved every bit of it. I have got you saved as a favorite to check out new stuff you post…


    May 28, 2021 at 12:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. RV Upholstery Near Me

    Good information. Lucky me I recently found your site by accident (stumbleupon). I have saved it for later!


    May 28, 2021 at 12:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. school bus repair shop

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thank you so much, However I am experiencing troubles with your RSS. I don’t understand the reason why I am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone else getting identical RSS problems? Anyone who knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanks!!


    May 28, 2021 at 14:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. rv window replacement near me

    I need to to thank you for this great read!! I certainly enjoyed every little bit of it. I've got you book marked to look at new stuff you post…


    May 28, 2021 at 16:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. 2006 Sprinter Climate Control Repair

    Everything is very open with a very clear clarification of the issues. It was truly informative. Your website is useful. Many thanks for sharing!


    May 28, 2021 at 18:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. RV Leak Los Angeles


    May 28, 2021 at 18:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. RV Mattresses California


    May 28, 2021 at 19:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. rv shower repair


    May 28, 2021 at 19:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. rv cabinets and furniture

    When I originally left a comment I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I receive 4 emails with the exact same comment. There has to be a way you are able to remove me from that service? Cheers!


    May 28, 2021 at 22:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Truck Wrap Shop Near Me


    May 29, 2021 at 06:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Box Truck Windshield Replacement Shop Near Me


    May 29, 2021 at 06:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Video Marketing Consultants

    May I just say what a relief to uncover an individual who actually knows what they are discussing on the net. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people must check this out and understand this side of your story. I was surprised you're not more popular given that you most certainly possess the gift.


    May 29, 2021 at 17:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Social Media Marketing Company


    May 29, 2021 at 18:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Commercial Van Repair

    Great info. Lucky me I discovered your blog by accident (stumbleupon). I've book marked it for later!


    May 30, 2021 at 03:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Specialty Van Repair Shop


    May 30, 2021 at 06:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. RV Appliance Repair Near Me


    May 31, 2021 at 00:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. RV Repair Near Here

    I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this website. I'm hoping to check out the same high-grade content by you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own, personal website now 😉


    May 31, 2021 at 00:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Company Van Repair Shop

    The next time I read a blog, Hopefully it does not disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read through, however I really believed you would have something helpful to say. All I hear is a bunch of complaining about something that you could fix if you were not too busy seeking attention.


    May 31, 2021 at 10:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Van Body Shop

    This web site certainly has all the information and facts I needed about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.


    May 31, 2021 at 10:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Google Marketing Agencies


    May 31, 2021 at 19:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Abuja Property

    An impressive share! I've just forwarded this onto a coworker who was
    doing a little homework on this. And he in fact ordered
    me lunch because I discovered it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this....
    Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending
    some time to discuss this issue here on your web page.

    May 31, 2021 at 19:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Mercedes Benz Sprinter Body Repair San Diego


    May 31, 2021 at 21:16 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Leave a Reply to outback steakhouse near me


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.