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. Specifically, 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 (Grant no. R33AG071744).

About Delirium
  • Older, white male wearing glasses in foreground being examined by female Asian physician for delirium researchDelirium is an acute disorder of attention and cognition. It commonly occurs following acute illness, surgery or hospitalization, especially in older adults.
  • People with delirium have difficulty paying attention. It also sometimes affects their ability to maintain awareness of their surroundings. What's more, confusion regarding day-to-day events, daily routines, and the roles of familiar people is common.
  • Some people with delirium hallucinate. Still others may become paranoid due to difficulty interpreting their environment. Additional symptoms may include rambling speech and jumbled thoughts. Also, symptoms tend to come and go during the course of the day.
  • Changes in personality can occur. Some persons become quiet and withdrawn. On the other hand, others become agitated or hyperactive. Normal patterns of sleeping and eating disruption are common.
  • Delirium affects 2.6 million older adults per year. On top of that, it costs more than $164 billion (2013 USD) per year in healthcare expenditures.
Challenges in Delirium Research

The study of delirium is inherently difficult. Many challenges influence the pace of scientific discovery.

  • The diagnosis of delirium lacks a consistent approach to identification. Plus, 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 very challenging. This is due in part to its multifactorial etiology. But the challenge is also due to occurrences in various clinical settings and disciplines. As well, primary prevention appears to be more effective than intervention after delirium occurs.
How does NIDUS fit in?
  • The Network for Investigation of Delirium: Unifying Scientists, or NIDUS, is an NIA-funded collaborative effort to establish a resource network for the study of delirium (Grant no. R33AG071744, PI: Inouye).
  • NIDUS is designed to help accelerate scientific discovery in the field of delirium by bringing together researchers from multiple disciplines. Specifically, the goal is 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. In addition, there are three task forces focused on pilots and innovation, mentorship and career development, and dissemination of information. To learn more about each core and task force and the NIDUS leadership, view each of their pages on this website.

NIDUS is an inclusive resource for all members of the worldwide delirium research community. As a result, we invite you to register with our website, explore our resources, participate in our research efforts, scientific symposia, training programs, and pilot grant programs. Furthermore, we work 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!