COVID-19 linked to a much higher risk of Alzheimer’s in older people

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In a study from the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, scientists found older people who have infected with COVID-19 show a substantially higher risk—as much as 50% to 80% higher than a control group—of developing Alzheimer’s disease within a year.

In the study, researchers examined data from more than 6 million patients 65 and older.

They then divided this population into two groups: one composed of people who contracted COVID-19 during that period, and another with people who 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 team found that people 65 and older who contracted COVID-19 were more prone to developing Alzheimer’s disease in the year following their COVID diagnosis.

And the highest risk was observed in women at least 85 years old.

The findings showed that the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease in older people nearly doubled (0.35% to 0.68%) over a one-year period following infection with COVID.

The researchers say it is unclear whether COVID-19 triggers new development of Alzheimer’s disease or accelerates its emergence.

If this increase in new diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease is sustained, the wave of patients with a disease currently without a cure will be substantial, and could further strain the long-term care resources.

Alzheimer’s disease is a serious and challenging disease, and we thought we had turned some of the tides on it by reducing general risk factors such as hypertension, heart disease, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle.

Now, so many people in the U.S. have had COVID and the long-term consequences of COVID are still emerging. It is important to continue to monitor the impact of this disease on future disability.

The team plans to continue studying the effects of COVID-19 on Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders—especially which subpopulations may be more vulnerable—and the potential to repurpose FDA-approved drugs to treat COVID’s long-term effects.

If you care about Alzheimer’s disease, please read studies about the cause of Alzheimer’s disease in human brain, and this common cancer drug may help reverse Alzheimer’s symptoms.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about antioxidants that may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, and results showing how to sleep to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

The study was conducted by Pamela Davis et al and published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

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