Increased dementia risk post COVID-19 infection, study suggests
09 February 2022
Research suggests that almost a third (32 of every 100) of older adults infected with COVID-19 in 2020 developed at least one new condition that required medical attention in the months after initial infection, 11 more than those who did not have covid-19. The research publication,The BMJ published the findings today (Wednesday 9 February).
What our expert said:
Dr James Connell, Head of Translational Science from Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on people with dementia, their carers and their families. Age, genetics and lifestyle all contribute to someone’s individual risk for developing dementia. Some evidence suggests that other pre-exiting health conditions can also contribute to increased dementia risk.
“In this large research study looking at health records of people aged 65 and over, scientists found that people were at higher risk of developing dementia following COVID-19 infection. This observation however may also result from pre-existing health conditions. Relatively little is known about the long-term impacts of COVID-19 on brain health, and Alzheimer’s Research UK remains committed to monitoring the emerging evidence in this space.
“Even before the pandemic, we were facing a crisis in dementia diagnosis, now fewer than 2 in 3 dementia cases are being formally diagnosed in the UK. These results suggest in future years we may be facing an even larger problem and heightens urgency for the government to take action with an ambitious dementia strategy.
“If anyone is worried about their memory and thinking, or long-term effects of COVID-19, they should consult with their doctor.”