A study suggests that dementia may lead to a greater risk of contracting the Covid virus than previously thought

A study suggests that dementia may lead to a greater risk of contracting the Covid virus than previously thought

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A new study published Tuesday shows that conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia may put patients at greater risk of dying from Covid-19 than heart disease and other diseases thought to be more serious.

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Patients with dementia and neurodegenerative diseases were more likely to die from Covid than those with many other pre-existing conditions, according to a study in Biology methods and protocols That followed 300,000 Veterans Affairs patients who contracted the coronavirus.

People with Alzheimer’s disease were 5.2 times more likely to die from Covid disease, 5.2 times more likely to die from nonspecific dementia, and 5.1 times more likely to die from coronavirus infection, while patients with high blood pressure were 4.83 times more likely to die. .

Severe disabilities also proved dangerous: according to the study, people with physiological developmental problems were 4.2 times more likely than others without this condition to die from Covid.

The researchers said that traditional methods for predicting the risk of Covid deaths may reduce the risks caused by these diseases, because doctors do not usually link neurological diseases with disabilities and the types of respiratory problems and weak immune systems that can make people more susceptible to severe infection with the Corona virus. .

Tuesday’s study sought to evaluate a new method for predicting deaths from coronavirus infection by calculating the specific risks for each pre-existing case, and researchers found that the new model was better than many previous methods at predicting death.

main background

It has long been known that diseases such as chronic lung disease, cancer and heart disease increase the risk of patients dying from coronavirus infection by causing organ dysfunction, weakening the immune system and making the patient more susceptible to infection. Neurological conditions can also put people at risk of severe coronavirus infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and previous research has also shown that diseases such as dementia can increase the risk of developing Covid, including superinfection in vaccinated patients. . This may be in part because memory problems associated with the condition make it difficult 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 pass more easily from a person. blood in the brain. In the past, scientists focused on assessing a patient’s risk of dying from the coronavirus by grouping together pre-existing cases into broad categories, sometimes ruling out some of the more serious cases, including neurological diseases, and thus failing to make a true prediction. On Tuesday, the researchers concluded the effect of each specific disease.

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Other research suggests that Covid infection may make older adults more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. A recent study of more than six million people age 65 and older found that those who contracted Covid face a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease within a year, possibly because the coronavirus causes inflammation that can exacerbate ongoing changes in the brain.

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