E. coli infection induces delirium in aging rats

Activation of the immune system by an infection may temporarily disrupt formation of long-term memories in healthy, aging rats by reducing levels of a protein required for brain cells to make new connections, suggests new research published in eNeuro.

Cognitive decline in old age is thought to be gradual, as in Alzheimer’s disease. However, an abrupt or more rapid deterioration of brain function called delirium is also common in aging, but much less studied. Although most individuals will recover from periods of delirium, these episodes, which can be triggered by an exaggerated immune response, may increase risk of dementia.

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