About Us

NIDUS is a collaborative, multidisciplinary network dedicated to the acceleration of scientific discovery in delirium research, through focused collaboration and creation of sustainable infrastructure to enhance innovative and high-quality research. NIDUS was created in response to a call from the National Institutes on Aging to support a collaborative network to advance scientific research on the causes, mechanisms, outcomes, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of delirium in older adults.

About Delirium:

  • Close up of older man with glasses and nasal oxygen cannula, a female doctor standing examining him in backgroundDelirium is an acute disorder of attention and cognition which commonly occurs following acute illness, surgery or hospitalization, especially in older adults.
  • People with delirium have difficulty paying attention, and it sometimes affects their ability to maintain awareness of their surroundings. Confusion regarding day-to-day events, daily routines, and the roles of familiar people is common.
  • Some people with delirium hallucinate or become paranoid because it becomes difficult to interpret their environment. Other symptoms may include rambling speech and jumbled thoughts. Symptoms tend to come and go during the course of the day.
  • Changes in personality can occur. Some persons become quiet and withdrawn while others become agitated or hyperactive. Normal patterns of sleeping and eating are often disrupted.
  • Delirium affects 2.6 million older adults per year and costs more than $164 billion (2013 USD) per year in healthcare expenditures.

Challenges in Delirium Research

The study of delirium is inherently difficult, with many challenges that influence the pace of scientific discovery.

  • The diagnosis of delirium lacks a consistent approach to identification, and the fluctuating nature of delirium increases the risk for misdiagnosis.
  • There are currently no known biomarkers for the diagnosis or staging of delirium, although several possible biomarkers have been proposed.
  • Developing interventions for delirium is also challenging due to its multifactorial etiology, occurrence in many clinical settings and disciplines, and because primary prevention appears to be more effective than intervention after delirium occurs.

How does NIDUS fit in?

  • The Network for Investigation of Delirium across the U.S., or NIDUS, is an NIA-funded collaborative effort to establish a resource network for the study of delirium (Grant no. R24AG054259, PI: Inouye).
  • NIDUS is designed to help accelerate scientific discovery in the field of delirium by bringing together researchers from multiple disciplines to shift research paradigms and priorities to better address the challenges of delirium research through collaborative approaches.
  • As a central program for all researchers interested in delirium, NIDUS will provide resources for conducting research, will facilitate multi-site collaboration, and will provide training opportunities to stimulate future research in the field.

The project consists of two research cores, tasked with developing a database of resources on existing studies and measurement tools, and 3 task forces, focused on pilots and innovation, mentorship and career development and dissemination of information. You can learn more about each core and task force and the NIDUS leadership by viewing their pages on this website.

NIDUS is intended to be an inclusive resource for all members of the delirium research community. We invite you to explore our resources, register with our website and participate in our research efforts, scientific symposia, training programs, and pilot grant programs. We are working closely with the American Delirium Society, American Geriatrics Society, the European Delirium Association, and many other organizations in healthcare, medicine, and aging. Please join us in our efforts to advance delirium research!