03 Feb 2021
Posted in Coronavirus
Severe COVID-19 survivors may face an increased risk of developing dementia
Brain inflammation and mini-strokes observed in COVID-19 patients may place them at increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other types of dementia. For COVID-19 survivors, adverse cognitive outcomes may be long term and result in lower quality of life and disability, particularly among severe cases, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Ana Fernandez-Menjivar, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Some of the most concerning lasting effects of COVID-19 are continued loss of sense of smell or taste, memory or concentration problems, and other cognitive complications, because they indicate probable brain damage and increased risk of dementia such as AD.”
AD is a growing global health crisis, as the world’s population is aging. GlobalData’s epidemiological forecast of AD estimates that the total prevalent cases will increase from approximately 34 million cases in 2019 to over 44 million by 2028 in the eight major markets (*8MM). Growing evidence of cognitive impairment caused by COVID-19 could mean an even larger number of people will develop AD in the next 10 years.
Currently, the frequency at which COVID-19 patients suffer from seizures, psychosis and memory-related problems is unknown. Some studies have reported that as many as 84% of patients with severe COVID-19 experience mental confusion and rapid mood changes after they recover.
Fernandez-Menjivar continues: “Even if the true frequency of lasting brain damage is lower, the number of people with lasting cognitive problems will be substantial, because so much of the population has been infected.
“Continued monitoring will, therefore, be critical to understand the relationship between COVID-19 and AD as the COVID-19 survivor population ages. Research into COVID-19-related brain damage and dementia will help public health officials plan and allocate resources to better care for a population suffering from disability and diminished quality of life.”
*8MM (the US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK, Japan, and China).