A hospital stay could be one of the major causes of mental decline and dementia in the elderly. Hospitals, and the cocktail of drugs that are regularly prescribed, could almost double the risk, a new study has discovered. Researchers from the University of Washington found that hospital care for a non-critical illness increased the chances of dementia alone by 40 per cent in patients aged 65 years and older. Overall, the cases of dementia and cognitive decline were almost twice as great in the group that had been in hospital for any length of time compared with a similar group that had remained out of hospital. “Hospitalization may be a marker for cognitive decline or dementia that has not been diagnosed,” say the authors. • DISCOVER how medicine can bring on many of the problems of ageing in the WDDTY special report, ‘It’s drugs, not old age’, which is available to all new subscribers. To start your subscription, please follow this link: http://www.wddtyhealthshop.com/products.asp?recnumber=246 (Source: Journal of the American Medical Association, 2010; 303: 763-770).