Long-Term Cognitive and Cerebral Changes in Sepsis Survivors and their Predictors

Background and aims

Sepsis (blood poisoning) is an inflammatory reaction that affects the entire body. It usually leads to damage in tissue, nerves (including the brain) and other vital organs. Sepsis is one of the most common causes of infection-related deaths. The process of recovery from sepsis is usually very slow and lengthy, and sepsis survivors often struggle to regain normality in their everyday lives. They can suffer from heightened sensitivity to stress, as well as from sleeplessness, memory and concentration problems and various physical impairments. The underlying causes of such problems are complex, and they can be tied to neurodegenerative processes.


In cooperation with the University of Bonn, the DZNE is currently studying recovery processes in sepsis / non-sepsis patients, aged 25 to 80, who have been treated in Bonn University Hospital's intensive care units. The results of this study will improve our understanding of long-term healing processes, and of key related success factors, in the context of neurodegenerative diseases.

Course of the study

Cognitive performance functions (such as memory, attention), brain volume (MRI) and brain activity (EEG), as well as biomarkers in blood / spinal fluid, will be studied for a period of up to two years following release from intensive care units. Healthy volunteers are being sought for a control group.

A full set of information about the study can be downloaded here (in German only): Flyer BonSEP

Principle Investigator: Prof. Dr. Michael Heneka
Start of the study: 2013
Status: multi centric, ongoing, recruiting active

Study Coordination / Project Management

Dipl.-Psych. Catherine Widmann
 +49 228 287 13093
 +49 228 287 13166

Participating sites


Universitätsklinikum Bonn -

Klinik für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen und Gerontopsychiatrie
Prof. Dr. Michael Heneka

Universitätsklinikum Bonn -
Klinik und Poliklinik für Anästhesiologie und Intensivmedizin
Prof. Dr. Christian Putensen

Zentrum für Klinische Forschung
Anna Müller
+49 228 43302-842

Malteser Krankenhaus
Seliger Gerhard Bonn/Rhein Sieg

Klinik für Anästhesie, Intensivmedizin und Schmerztherapie
Dr. med. Holger Wienzek

Gemeinschaftskrankenhaus Bonn
St. Elisabeth - St. Petrus - St. Johannes gGmbH

Anästhesie, Intensiv- und Schmerzmedizin
Prof. Dr. Pascal Knüfermann


Thursdays 1:30-4:30 pm

Patients +49 800-7799001

(free of charge)

Professionals +49 180-779900

(9 Cent/Min. German landline, mobile and out of Germany possibly more expensive)

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