Home / News / India /  Covid side-effect: Risk of memory loss higher in senior citizens

Senior citizens infected with coronavirus are likely to suffer from memory loss within a year, a study has claimed. In a study published today in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, researchers report that people 65 and older who contracted coronavirus were more prone to developing Alzheimer's disease in the year following their Covid diagnosis.

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

However, the researchers say it is unclear whether Covid-19 triggers new development of Alzheimer's disease or accelerates its emergence.

The research team analyzed the anonymous electronic health records of 6.2 million adults 65 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.

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.

"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 our long-term care resources," Pamela Davis, the study's coauthor said.

Rong Xu, the study's corresponding author, professor of Biomedical Informatics at the School of Medicine, and director of the Center for AI in Drug Discovery, said 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.

Previous Covid-related studies found that people with dementia are twice as likely to contract coronavirus; those with substance abuse disorder orders are also likely to contract the fatal infection; and that 5% of people who took Paxlovid for treatment of Covid-19, also experienced rebound infections within a month.

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