Scientists just found a link between COVID-19 and developing Alzheimer’s

Silhouette of a head and brain showing the COVID symbol

Silhouette of a head and brain showing the COVID symbol

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As we head into our third fall and winter tackling COVID-19, scientists are still trying to understand what the long-term effects of the virus will be – and a new study from Case Western Reserve University suggests That for older adults, contracting COVID can be a major obstacle to their cognitive health.

research, published in Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, found that people 65 and older who were infected with COVID-19 were 50% to 80% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease within a year than their peers who did not contract COVID-19 was. The highest risk was seen in women 85 years of age or older.

“The factors that play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease are poorly understood, but two pieces thought to be important are prior infection, particularly viral infection and inflammation,” said study co-author Pamela Davis, MD, PhD, said in one Press realease, “Since infection with SARS-CoV2 is associated with abnormalities of the central nervous system, including inflammation, we wanted to test whether there could be an increase in diagnoses from COVID, even in the short term.”

related: 8 Things You Shouldn’t Do When Trying to Prevent Cognitive Decline

The study looked at the medical records of millions of Americans in the over-65 age range, with 5.8 million in the control group and 400,000 in the COVID-19 group. The researchers were unable to determine whether COVID-19 infection actually causes patients to develop Alzheimer’s or if it causes the disease to express itself sooner, but they continue to discuss this topic further. Planning on doing more research.

“Alzheimer’s disease is a serious and challenging disease, and we thought we had turned some of the tide on it by reducing common risk factors such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle,” Davis said. “Now, so many people in the US have got COVID and the long-term consequences of COVID are still looming. It’s important to continue to monitor the impact of this disease on future disability.”

Because Alzheimer’s is still a disease without a cure, it is important to think about preventive measures, especially if there is a history of cognitive decline in your family. Consider continuing to wear a mask around your older loved ones, and encourage them if they have already been vaccinated. get a booster shot,

related: 5 habits to add to your day to prevent cognitive decline

Of course, there are other preventive measures you can take to reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s, including changing your diet a bit. a 2021 study found that people aged 65 and over who ate mind dietThe combination of the heart-healthy DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet had fewer symptoms of cognitive decline, even if they were already diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

And studies have pointed to other little habits that can help you stave off cognitive decline. and also Listen to music—and especially music that inspires you to danceCan boost your brain health. other daily optionsLike getting a good night’s sleep and getting some exercise can also help.

Bottom-line

New research from Case Western Reserve University found that people 65 and older were up to 80% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease within a year if they were infected with COVID-19. But there are ways you can help reduce or prevent that cognitive decline, whether it’s by wearing a mask around your loved ones or preparing delicious meals with brain-healthy ingredients.

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