Especially people with dementia Alzheimer‘s illness are triple risk dying from the effects of infection SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind Covid-19, according to a study by Brazilian researchers.
The risk is six times higher when you?
7;re over 80, the team found University of Sao Paulo (USP) and the Butantane Institute in collaboration with colleagues from the Federal university from Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ).
“We found that all causes of dementia are risk factors for severity and death in Covid-19 and that these risks are more pronounced for Alzheimer’s patients,” said Sergio Verjovski-Almeida, main researcher of the project and professor at the USP’s Chemical Institute Agencia FAPESP. “One factor that has not yet been identified increases the tendency of Alzheimer’s patients to develop severe Covid-19 and die from the viral disease,” said Verjovski. “The results of our study indicate that special attention should be paid to these patients when they are hospitalized.”
The results are published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.
For the study, researchers looked at data on positive diagnoses, hospital admissions, and deaths from Covid-19 for a cohort of 12,863 patients over 65 who tested positive or negative for Covid between March and August 2020. They were divided into three age groups: 66-74 (6,182), 75-79 (4,867), and 80-86 (1,814).
Statistical analyzes showed that all causes of dementia, especially Alzheimer’s, are risk factors for disease severity and death in hospitalized patients, regardless of age.
One possible explanation is that chronic inflammatory conditions or a defective immune response due to the aging of the immune system (immunosenescence) can make these patients more vulnerable and reduce their ability to develop an effective response to infection by the virus.
Another hypothesis is that Alzheimer’s changes the permeability of the blood-brain barrier, making central nervous system infection more likely, the researchers said.