In a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, American researchers report that people over the age of 65 who contracted Covid-19 were more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease within a year of their diagnosis. And the highest risk was seen in women over 85.
As the Alzheimer Foundation recently explained, “Covid-19 is likely to generate acute neurological disorders in healthy subjects and to be involved in the longer term in the development of neurodegenerative diseases”. An idea confirmed by researchers at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
For their work, the scientists studied the health records of more than 6 million people who had not been affected by Alzheimer’s disease. They then divided the participants into 2 groups depending on whether or not they had contracted Covid-19.
The inflammatory track
“Older people infected with Covid-19 had a significantly higher risk (up to 50% to 80% more than the control group) of developing Alzheimer’s disease one year later”, alert the authors. Which recall that “SARS-CoV2 has already been associated with central nervous system abnormalities, including inflammation”. This could explain this causal link between the coronavirus and the neurodegenerative disease.
However, researchers do not yet know if Covid-19 actually causes Alzheimer’s disease or if it accelerates cognitive decline in susceptible people. Further work will therefore be necessary.