In one study of more than 6 million Americans over age 65 using electronic health records, the number of people diagnosed with Covid-19 worsened. Risk of receiving a new diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease in one year.
The results should prompt researchers to monitor whether older patients who have recovered from Covid show memory loss, reduced brain function or signs of Alzheimer’s disease. The study found that for every 1,000 elderly people infected with Covid-19, seven will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in a year, which is slightly higher than the estimated diagnosis rate of five per thousand for elderly people without Covid-19.
“We know that Covid affects the brain, but I don’t think anyone has looked at the new diagnoses of Alzheimer’s,” said study co-author and research professor Pamela Davies. Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Her colleague Rong Xu said she had expected some increase in the number of elderly people infected with Covid-19, but was surprised by “the magnitude of the increase and how quickly it happened”.
Although the study is “important and useful,” it is “limited,” said the director of the Brain Development, Remodeling and Maintenance Laboratory at the University of Texas Health San Antonio, who was not involved in the research.
He warned that the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is not necessary Confirmation of the disease. Doctors sometimes diagnose Alzheimer’s disease based on changes in behavior or responses to memory tests. These two types of proteins, beta-amyloid and phosphorylated tau, are considered less accurate than imaging or cerebrospinal fluid tests for accumulation in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Brain scans that look for structural changes, such as atrophy in certain regions, are another accurate indicator.
“You have people who look like they have Alzheimer’s, but they don’t have Alzheimer’s,” de Irauskin said.
In their paper, the Case Western Reserve researchers acknowledge that the study’s power to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease is limited.
But Davis thinks doctors can’t mistake Covid for Alzheimer’s for a long time.
“Labelling someone with Alzheimer’s disease is different from the brain fog and confusion associated with prolonged covid,” she says. “When a doctor diagnoses Alzheimer’s disease, it represents significant cognitive impairment.”
The Case Western Reserve study used a database representing patients from nearly 70 health care centers across the country. The scientists focused on patients over the age of 65 who had a medical visit in the 15 months between February 2, 2020 and May 30, 2021, and divided them into two groups: those diagnosed with Covid-19 and those not diagnosed with Covid-19.
During most of the study period, For a long time, the electronic record system did not include a covid code, which could be used to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease in patients with persistent health problems after contracting covid.
Still, the new study adds to the body of research examining the link between Covid-19 and Alzheimer’s disease. An Early research Some of the same researchers at Case Western Reserve examined the electronic health records of nearly 62 million Americans over the age of 18 and found that patients with dementia were at higher risk for Covid-19 than patients without dementia.
Thomas Wisniewski, director of the NYU Langone Alzheimer’s Disease Center, said some patients may progress to Alzheimer’s when they become ill. Covid-19, causing their brains to “hit a second time”.
Scientists ask whether Alzheimer’s biomarkers seen in Covid-19 patients “increase over time and result in a faster disease trajectory.” He said they should investigate.
Scientists at Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons studied. Minds Few of the patients who died of Covid-19 were found They had damaged receptors that are indicative of Alzheimer’s disease.
A Second study They looked at serum from hospitalized Covid-19 patients with no previous history of dementia and developed signs of the neurodegenerative disease at levels comparable to those found in Alzheimer’s disease patients.