Delirium is an important neuropsychiatric syndrome in the elderly that is associated with an increase in mortality, impaired physical and cognitive recovery, and increased healthcare costs. Two important gaps in daily practice with delirium are the pathophysiological obscurity and the low recognition rates. Genetics offers the possibility to contribute knowledge to both of these gaps with its unique and diverse techniques. However, genetic studies in delirium have been scarce until recently, due to the nature of the diagnosis, the etiology of the syndrome, and the pitfalls inherent in the design of genetic studies. This review describes the barriers of this field of research and the implications for our current knowledge of delirium.
Copyright 2009 S. Karger AG, Basel.