Image for Hospital Pneumonia Treatment Linked to Impairments
Copyright 2013 Natural Standard (
March 2013

Hospital Pneumonia Treatment Linked to Impairments

Older adults who go to the hospital for pneumonia may have a higher risk of both functional and cognitive impairment, a study reports.

Researchers set out to determine whether hospital treatment for pneumonia may be linked to depression and cognitive problems.

They looked at data from 1,434 people over the age of 50 who had been enrolled in the Health and Retirement Study between 1998 and 2010. The participants had experienced a total of 1,711 hospital visits for the treatment of pneumonia, heart attack, and stroke. Main outcome measures included the requirement of assistance for daily life activities, depressive symptoms, and cognitive impairment.

The results suggested that people who went to the hospital for pneumonia were more likely to experience problems with daily life activities, compared to those who had gone to the hospital for heart attack. Hospital treatment for pneumonia also appeared to be linked to a greater likelihood of developing depressive symptoms and cognitive problems.

The research team suggested that improving pneumonia prevention and treatment may help improve outcomes for older adults with the condition.

Pneumonia is an infection of one or both lungs that is usually caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. More than a million people in the United States visit the hospital each year for pneumonia, making it the third most frequent reason for hospitalizations (after births and heart disease). Pneumonia causes between 40,000 and 70,000 deaths in the United States each year.

Borage seed oil and yoga have both been studied for use in lung diseases and are supported by good scientific evidence for this purpose. Borage is an herb native to Syria and it produces oil that is very high in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). Yoga is an ancient system of relaxation and exercise that is often practiced by healthy individuals with the aim to achieve fitness and a healthy lifestyle. More research is needed to better understand the potential benefits of these complementary therapies for the treatment of lung diseases.

For more information about pneumonia, please visit Natural Standard's Medical Conditions Database.


  1. Davydow DS, Hough CL, Levine DA, et al. Functional Disability, Cognitive Impairment, and Depression After Hospitalization for Pneumonia. Am J Med. 2013 Mar 14. View Abstract
  2. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine.
The information in this brief report is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions. Copyright 2013 Natural Standard Inc. Commercial distribution or reproduction prohibited. Natural Standard is the leading provider of high-quality, evidence-based, clinically-relevant information on natural medicine, dietary supplements, herbs, vitamins, minerals, functional foods, diets, complementary practices, CAM modalities, exercises and medical conditions. Monograph sections include interactions with herbs, drugs, foods and labs, contraindications, depletions, dosing, toxicology, adverse effects, pregnancy and lactation data, synonyms, safety and effectiveness.