COVID-19 Pneumonia May Up Dementia Risk

Among 10,403 patients with COVID-19 pneumonia, 312 (3%) developed new onset dementia after recovering, compared to 263 (2.5%) of the 10,403 patients with other types of pneumonia diagnosed with dementia.

“The risk of new-onset dementia was more common in COVID-19 pneumonia patients over the age of 70 in our study,” said lead researcher Adnan I. Qureshi, MD, a professor of clinical neurology at the MU School of Medicine.

“The type of dementia seen in survivors of COVID-19 infection mainly affects memory, ability to perform everyday tasks and self-regulation. Language and awareness of time and location remained relatively preserved.”

The median time interval between infection and dementia diagnosis was 182 days for COVID-19 patients.

The study only included new-onset dementia associated with hospital admission during a short follow-up period.

Qureshi said further study over longer periods of time would provide a more complete picture and may help to determine the underlying reasons why COVID-19 pneumonia might increase dementia risk.

“The findings suggest a role for screening for cognitive deficits among COVID-19 survivors,” Qureshi said.

“If there is evidence of impairment during screening and if the patient continues to report cognitive symptoms, a referral for comprehensive assessment may be necessary.”

Source: Eurekalert

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