New findings suggest long-term effects of COVID-19 linked to Alzheimer’s symptoms

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DENVER (WATE) — Research shared at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2021 last month in Denver, Colorado suggests that the novel coronavirus is linked with long-term cognitive dysfunction and the acceleration of Alzheimer’s disease.

“These new data point to disturbing trends showing COVID-19 infections leading to lasting cognitive impairment and even Alzheimer’s symptoms,” said Heather Snyder, Ph.D., Alzheimer’s Association vice president of medical and scientific relations. “With more than 190 million cases and over 4 million deaths worldwide, COVID-19 has devastated the entire world. It is imperative that we continue to study what this virus is doing to our body and brain.”

The conference is an annual forum for presentation and discussion of the latest Alzheimer’s and dementia research. Last month’s hybrid conference event took place both virtually and in person in Denver with more than 11,000 attendees and over 3,000 scientific presentations, according to the news release regarding the conference highlights.

The top highlight – COVID-19 and long-term effects associated with Alzheimer’s Disease. The data shared revealed that for some, the neurological symptoms of COVID-19 carry on after the virus has run its course. Here’s what was shared from the highlights:

COVID-19 Associated with Long-Term Cognitive Dysfunction, Acceleration of Alzheimer’s Symptoms
Much has been learned about SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the novel coronavirus, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, questions remain about the long-term impact of the virus on our bodies and brains. New data presented at AAIC 2021 from Greece and Argentina suggest older adults frequently suffer long-term cognitive impairment, including persistent lack of smell, after recovery from SARS-CoV-2 infection.

“These new data are the first reports from an international consortium — including the Alzheimer’s Association and teams from nearly 40 countries — who are researching COVID-19’s long-term effects on the central nervous system.”

Other key results reported at AAIC 2021 include:

  • Biological markers of brain injury, neuroinflammation and Alzheimer’s correlate strongly with the presence of neurological symptoms in COVID-19 patients.
  • Individuals experiencing cognitive decline post-COVID-19 infection were more likely to have low blood oxygen following brief physical exertion as well as poor overall physical condition.

Researchers are continually working to understand and share the inner workings of how brain dysfunction occurs. See the full release, “COVID-19 Associated with Long-Term Cognitive Dysfunction, Acceleration of Alzheimer’s Symptoms” below:

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