What if having had the coronavirus increased the risk of seniors having Alzheimer’s? According to a study published in September in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and covering more than 6 million patients aged 65 and over, the older people who have been infected with Covid-19 are at significantly higher risk, 50-80% higher to that of a control group, to develop Alzheimer’s disease in the year following their infection.
According to the work of researchers from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, United States, people aged 65 and over who have contracted Covid-19 are indeed more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease in the year following their diagnosis. diagnostic. In particular, they found that the risk the highest was observed in women aged at least 85 years.
Alzheimer’s: a risk almost doubled in the elderly who have had Covid-19
The results of the study show that the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly nearly doubled from 0.35% to 0.68%, over a period of one year after infection with the coronavirus. According to the researchers, it is unclear at this time whether Covid-19 triggers a new development of Alzheimer’s disease or whether it only accelerates its emergence.
“The factors that play into the development of Alzheimer’s disease have been poorly understood, but two elements considered important are previous infections, in particular viral infections, and inflammation“, said Pamela Davis, research professor at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine and co-author of the study. “Since coronavirus infection has been associated with central nervous system abnormalities, including inflammation, we wanted to check whether, even in the short term, Covid could lead to an increase in diagnoses“, she clarified.
Covid: a 50 to 80% higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease
In practice, the research team analyzed the anonymous electronic medical records of 6.2 million adults ages 65 and older in the United States who received medical treatment between February 2020 and May 2021 for the coronavirus and who did not had no prior diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. They then divided this population into two groups: one composed of people who contracted Covid-19 during this period, and another with people who had never been infected. More than 400,000 people were enrolled in the Covid study group, while 5.8 million were in the uninfected group. As a result, the researchers found that seniors who were infected with the Covid-19 virus presented a 50-80% higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease within a year of infection.
Alzheimer’s: a worrying new risk factor
“If this increase in new Alzheimer’s disease diagnoses continues, the surge of patients with a disease for which there is currently no cure will be significant and could put a greater strain on our long-term care resources,” said Pamela Davis. “We thought we had turned the tide by decreasing general risk factors such as hypertension, heart disease, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. Today so many people have had Covid and the long term consequences of the coronavirus are still emerging. He is therefore important to continue to monitor the impact of this disease on future illnesses“, she worries. The coronavirus would therefore be a new early risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease to watch out for.