According to new research, older adults who contracted COVID-19 are at a much higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. The study found that those over 60 who were infected with the virus are at a substantially higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s in the following year than those who did not contract the virus.
This is concerning news, as Alzheimer’s is a prevalent disease among older adults. It is important to be aware of this risk so we can all take steps to protect ourselves and our loved ones from developing this debilitating condition.
The study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease analyzed the anonymous electronic health records of 6.2 million adults 65 years and older in the United States who received medical treatment between February 2020 and May 2021 and had no prior diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.
This population was then divided into two groups: the first group had people who contracted COVID-19 during that period, and the second group had no documented cases of COVID-19. More than 400,000 people were enrolled in the COVID study group, while 5.8 million were in the non-infected group.
The study showed that the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease in older people almost doubled over a one-year period following a COVID-19 infection. It is still unclear whether COVID-19 triggers a new development of Alzheimer’s disease or if it accelerates its emergence.
Study co-author Pamela Davis said, “The factors that play into the development of Alzheimer’s disease have been poorly understood, but two important pieces are prior infections, especially viral infections, and inflammation.
Since infection with SARS-CoV-2 has been associated with central nervous system abnormalities, including inflammation, we wanted to test whether COVID could lead to increased diagnoses even in the short term.”
While more research is needed to fully understand the connection between COVID-19 and Alzheimer’s disease, this study shows the risk involved. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease rates had previously been slightly curbed by reducing general risk factors, including hypertension, heart disease and obesity. However, if this increase in Alzheimer’s disease continues in people with COVID-19, it could strain long-term care resources.
There are many factors that can take a toll on brain function at peak potential, including COVID-19. This can affect memory, concentration, and overall brain function.
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