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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 5271395, 7 pages
Research Article

The Association of Serum Levels of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor with the Occurrence of and Recovery from Delirium in Older Medical Inpatients

1Pathology Department, Sligo University Hospital Sligo, Sligo, Ireland
2School of Biological Science, Cork Institute of Technology, Cork, Ireland
3Sligo Mental Health Services, Clarion Rd, Sligo, Ireland
4Cognitive Impairment Research Group (CIRG), Graduate Entry Medical School, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland
5Sligo Medical Academy, NUI Galway and Sligo Mental Health Services, Clarion Rd, Sligo, Ireland
6Research and Academic Institute of Athens, Athens, Greece

Correspondence should be addressed to Dimitrios Adamis

Received 24 October 2016; Accepted 18 January 2017; Published 9 February 2017

Academic Editor: Anastasia Kotanidou

Copyright © 2017 John Williams et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Limited studies of the association between BDNF levels and delirium have given inconclusive results. This prospective, longitudinal study examined the relationship between BDNF levels and the occurrence of and recovery from delirium. Participants were assessed twice weekly using MoCA, DRS-R98, and APACHE II scales. BDNF levels were estimated using an ELISA method. Delirium was defined with DRS-R98 (score > 16) and recovery from delirium as ≥2 consecutive assessments without delirium prior to discharge. We identified no difference in BDNF levels between those with and without delirium. Excluding those who never developed delirium (), we examined the association of BDNF levels and other variables with delirium recovery. Of 58 who experienced delirium, 39 remained delirious while 19 recovered. Using Generalized Estimating Equations models we found that BDNF levels (Wald ; df: 1, ) and MoCA (Wald ; df: 1, ) were associated with recovery. No significant association was found for APACHE II, dementia, age, or gender. BDNF levels do not appear to be directly linked to the occurrence of delirium but recovery was less likely in those with continuously lower levels. No previous study has investigated the role of BDNF in delirium recovery and these findings warrant replication in other populations.