The neurological symptoms associated with long COVID-19 can potentially result in a wave of increased dementia and Alzheimer’s cases throughout the world, the
Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), headquartered in London, has warned.
ADI, an umbrella organisation which represents more than 100 Alzheimer’s and dementia associations, has urged the World Health Organization (WHO) and governments around the world to increase funding for research into the link between long COVID symptoms and dementia.
The ADI has set up a Medical and Scientific Advisory Panel to study this link further.
“Many dementia experts around the globe are seriously concerned by the link between dementia and the neurological symptoms of COVID-19,” said Paola Barbarino, CEO of ADI, in the release.
Even before COVID-19, experts predicted that dementia cases worldwide could rise from 55 million to 78 million. But ADI’s research points to the impact of long COVID on the brain and how this could result in greater risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s among the affected.
“We urge the WHO, governments and research institutions across the globe to prioritise and commit more funding to research and establish resources in this space, to avoid being further overwhelmed by the oncoming pandemic of dementia,” added Barbarino.
Dementia is a general term used to describe an array of symptoms which affect memory and cognitive functions. A person with dementia can experience difficulty in making decisions, processing thoughts or remembering details of everyday life. The association said Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia affecting individuals worldwide.
Long COVID and dementia
Doctors have observed that many patients who survive COVID-19 have reported long-lasting cognitive impairment. A survey conducted in June among 1,000 Canadians, who previously tested positive for COVID, found that more than 80 percent of the respondents had cognitive disorder symptoms which lasted at least three months, as reported by Canadian Television network, CTV News.
The survey also found that almost half of the respondents had lasting symptoms for up to 11 months after their first diagnosis of COVID.
Adding to the case, new research from ADI also found “specific biomarkers” that are associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s among patients hospitalised with COVID-19.
(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)