PRN: Current Understanding of Long-term Cognitive Impairment After Critical Illness Assessed in New Overview

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Current Understanding of Long-term Cognitive Impairment After Critical Illness Assessed in New Overview


LONDON, January 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

A new review published in European Neurological Review, the peer-reviewed journal, discusses long-term cognitive impairment after critical illness and focuses on the definition, incidence, pathophysiology and hypothesis of neurotrophic treatment.

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Cognitive impairment after critical illness (CIACI) is a frequent consequence of serious disease or injury that has been reported in as many as 66 % of patients, 3 months after an illness requiring intensive care unit hospitalisation. The condition has been recognised only within the past 15 years and its pathological mechanisms are, as yet, incompletely understood. The neurological changes and cellular and inflammatory processes of CIACI overlap with those of stroke, traumatic brain injury and neurodegenerative disorders. Patients also show brain atrophy, which worsens with the duration of intensive care unit stay. Risk factors associated with CIACI include depression, biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease (e.g. apolipoprotein E), delirium, exposure to some drugs (e.g. fentanyl, morphine and propofol) and intubation. Current strategies to prevent or treat CIACI include treatments to reduce agitation and delirium and physical and mental rehabilitation including cognitive ther! apy. Many brain diseases and injuries affect the functioning of the neurovascular unit (NVU), which constitutes the key cellular building block of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). CIACI is believed to affect the integrity of the NVU and it is among the potential targets for therapy. Neurotrophic factors (NTFs), such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) are known to play an important role in neurogenesis, maintenance of NVU structure and neuronal repair after disease and injury. This led to the development of strategies including the NTF-preparation (Cerebrolysin®), which is effective as a post-stroke therapy and has potential in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease and brain injury as well as CIACI. There are currently no proven treatments for CIACI; improved understanding of the condition and further evaluation of NTFs may lead to effective treatments, which are vital to tackle this increasingly serious public health problem.

The full peer-reviewed, open-access article is available here:

Note to the Editor

touchNEUROLOGY (a division of Touch Medical Media) publishesEuropean Neurological Review, a peer-reviewed, open access, bi-annual journals specialising in the publication of balanced and comprehensive review articles written by leading authorities to address the most important and salient developments in the field of neurology. The aim of these reviews is to break down the high science from 'data-rich' primary papers and provide practical advice and opinion on how this information can help physicians in the day to day clinical setting. Practice guidelines, symposium write-ups, case reports, and original research articles are also featured to promote discussion and learning amongst physicians, clinicians, researchers and related healthcare professionals.

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