UL Researchers Awarded Funding to Improve Detection of Delirium

UL Researchers Awarded Funding to Improve Detection of Delirium

Professor David Meagher, Chair of Psychiatry, GEMS, UL and lead researcher explains the clinical significance of delirium.  "Delirium is a medically urgent, acute neuropsychiatric syndrome that is associated with considerable morbidity and mortality and poor prognosis in the elderly."

"Delirium affects 11-42% of medical-surgical inpatients and as many as 80% of intensive care and nursing home patients.  Poor detection results in about 50% of cases being missed in real-world practice.  This poor level of detection is a direct consequence of the absence of systematic and formalized approaches to cognitive assessment in routine healthcare."
This research is a good example of fundamental clinical research being translated into a practical device.  Professor Meagher has collaborated with Professor Paula Trzepacz, Eli-Lilly & Company/Indiana University Medical School, USA for a numbers of years in order to clarify the characteristics of delirium. Through clinical research, the features of delirium have been identified and can now be assessed using a computerized diagnostic device that minimizes the demands upon patients, many of whom may be uncooperative due to presence of delirium.
UL is continuing to build on its success in medical device research, the University was recently awarded top prizes at the Enterprise Ireland Clinical Innovation Award. Professor Colum Dunne, Director of Research, Graduate Entry Medical School highlights the significance of research in this field: "This funding is another important step in building on UL's success in medical device and diagnostic research. Our clinicians are leading research which will not only enhance patient safety and clinical outcomes but they are developing innovative products which will drive Ireland's leading role in the medical device and diagnostics sector."
Ireland's medical technologies sector is a significant global cluster for medical device and diagnostic products. Exports of medical device and diagnostics products are valued in excess of €7 billion annually, representing 9% of Ireland's total merchandise exports. The sector employs 25,000 people, the highest number of people working in the industry in Europe, per head of population, with 60% employed in the West and Midwest region.

This research is led by Professor David Meagher, Chair of Psychiatry, Graduate Entry Medical School and Consultant Psychiatrist, University Hospital Limerick and involves a multidisciplinary team including Professor Colum Dunne, Director of Research, GEMS, Professor Walter Cullen, Chair of General Practice, GEMS, Dr Chris Exton, Department of Computer Science and Information Systems, Dr Con Cronin, St John's Hospital, Limerick, Professor Paula Trzepacz, Eli-Lilly & Company/Indiana University Medical School, USA and Dr Marion Conroy, Milford Hospice and University Hospital Limerick.

This research is funded by the Health Research Board under the Health Research Award Scheme 2011. For further information about the Graduate Entry Medical School (GEMS), UL go to : www.ul.ie/medicalschool