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Covid: Dementia and pests… the accelerated cognitive decline highlighted by a new study?

A new study confirms the impact of Covid-19 on the brain. This concerns the first elderly patients infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus in Wuhan (China), the starting point of the epidemic.

In Wuhan, at the beginning of 2020, thousands of people flocked to the three hospitals designated to receive the first patients infected with the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Among these patients, Chinese researchers selected the large cohort for their study, which aimed to measure potential long-term cognitive changes after injury.

This study, published in the journal JAMA Neurology, focuses on patients aged 60 or older, who were admitted to hospital between February 10 and April 10, 2020 and who survived Covid-19. More than 3,000 people met these criteria, but some were excluded: people with pre-existing cognitive or neurological disorders, and people with a family history of heart, liver or kidney disease. In all, more than 1,400 previous patients were included in the study. The control group was made up of the spouses of these patients, all of whom were uninfected.

12% of patients

What conclusions did the authors of this study reach specifically and in the long term? Do they go in the same direction as other cognitive and brain disorders? This may be the case, especially in people who are severely infected with the Covid-19 virus. The development of their cognitive function was measured at six months and then at one year, by a questionnaire and telephone interview designed to assess any cognitive decline.

Outcome 1: One year after leaving the hospital, just over 12% of participants had a cognitive disorder (mild cognitive impairment or dementia). In the most affected subjects, the incidence of these disorders was similar to that of the control group. However, 15% of those worst affected develop dementia and a quarter develop mild cognitive impairment one year after leaving hospital. For the study authors, these findings suggest that in its severe form, Covid-19 appears to be associated with long-term cognitive impairment. And that “the epidemic may contribute significantly
for the global burden of dementia in the future.”

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For blogging: Before the pandemic, predictions of dementia were not really optimistic, either at the European or global level. By 2050, cases worldwide should double. More so, if these results are confirmed.