HomeHealthNew Alzheimer's Diagnosis Common Among Older People Who Had COVID-19

New Alzheimer’s Diagnosis Common Among Older People Who Had COVID-19

A recent study showed that over 6 million people 65 and older with COVID-19 had a higher risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease within the year. They showed that COVID-19 didn’t cause the condition but could cause inflammation that may exacerbate changes in the brain.

“In the Alzheimer’s brain, the pathology starts to build up about 20 years before the symptoms begin,” said Dr. David Holtzman. However, researchers need decades of monitoring after a COVID-19 infection to determine a cause.

“The brain has its immune response to the pathology involved in [Alzheimer’s] disease progressing,” said Holtzman, who was not part of the new study. “When there are other things that cause inflammation in the body that can affect the brain, likely what happens is that can even amplify the process that’s already going on.”

Unfortunately, other viruses can cause similar inflammation. COVID is just another potential risk factor. This is another reason why vaccination is essential, not just against COVID.

The latest study by the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease showed about seven new diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease for 1,000 seniors who had contracted COVID in the past year. The recent findings call for more research on the underlying mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease. Thus, explaining the association. However, in this new study, the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s was “mostly tentative,” said Dr. Eliezer Masliah, director of the Division of Neuroscience at the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging.

Alzheimer’s Statistics

About 6.5 million people over the age of 65 with the condition. And in 2020, it was the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S.

“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,” said Dr. Pamela Davis, a research professor at Case Western Reserve University and co-author of the new study.

“Now, so many people in the US have had Covid, and the long-term consequences of Covid are still emerging. It is important to continue monitoring this disease’s impact on future disability.”

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