Sepsis (blood poisoning) is a body-wide inflammatory response to an infection, causing damage to the body’s tissue, nerves (including the brain) and other vital organs. It is a leading cause of death due to infections, resulting in millions of deaths around the world each year. Due to advances in intensive care medicine, more and more sepsis patients survive this illness. Yet, survivors of sepsis appear to have slow recovery and often struggle with normal daily life due to sleeping problems, difficulty remembering and concentrating, and physical impairments. The underlying causes are complex, and may be related to ongoing neurodegenerative processes. The profile of recovery in these patients warrants careful study.

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The German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) together with the University of Bonn, is currently investigating recovery in patients aged 25-80 years of men and women treated at the intensive care units of the University Hospital Bonn with and without sepsis. Cognition (e.g., memory, attention), brain volume (MRI), brain activity (EEG) and fluid biomarkers will be examined to two years post ICU. For this purpose, healthy subjects are actively being sought as a comparison group. The results of this study will help to better understand the long-term trajectory of recovery and essential related success factors in the context of neurodegenerative diseases.

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Funding