How dementia affects Covid deaths


Conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia may put patients at an even greater risk of death from Covid-19 than heart disease and other ailments thought to be the most dangerous, according to a new study published Tuesday.

Study finds fresh links for dementia and Covid deaths.
Image source: Getty Images

Diseases like chronic lung conditions, cancer and heart conditions have long been known to increase patients’ risk of dying from a coronavirus infection by causing organ dysfunction, weakening the immune system and making the patient more vulnerable to infections.

Neurological conditions can also put people at high risk for severe coronavirus infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and previous research has also shown ailments like dementia can raise the risk of getting Covid, including breakthrough infections in vaccinated patients.

This may be in part because memory problems associated with the condition make it challenging for patients to follow safety measures such as wearing masks and washing hands, while damaged blood vessels caused by vascular dementia may also allow bacteria and viruses to travel more easily from a person’s blood into the brain.

In the past, scientists have focused on evaluating a patient’s risk of death from the coronavirus by grouping pre-existing conditions together under broad categories, and have at times excluded some of the highest risk conditions, including neurological diseases, thus failing to predict the real impact of each specific illness, researchers concluded Tuesday.

Covid infections may also leave older people more vulnerable to Alzheimer’s, other research suggests. A recent study of more than six million people 65 years and older found those who had Covid faced a higher risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s within a year, potentially because the coronavirus causes inflammation that can worsen ongoing changes in the brain.

New Alzheimer’s diagnoses more common among seniors who have had Covid-19, study finds (CNN)