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Older Adults Who Had COVID May Be More At Risk For Alzheimer's Disease

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Older adults who had COVID

Though SARS-CoV-2 was originally thought to be a respiratory virus, it’s become increasingly clear that the virus can have serious consequences on brain health. Many people have experienced neurological symptoms — like loss of taste and smell, headache and memory and attention issues— while infected, and most people who develop long COVID experience brain fog and cognitive problems like reduced concentration.

Now, new research suggests that COVID may increase our risk of developing brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, too. The study, which was published this month in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, found that older adults who were infected with COVID had a 50 to 80% higher chance of developing Alzheimer’s compared to people who’d never had COVID.

Doctors don’t think that COVID directly causes Alzheimer’s as much as it unmasks underlying illness or speeds up disease that’s already simmering. Scientists are still learning about the ways in which COVID can impact our ability to learn, remember, focus and perceive, but research suggests that infections, in general, can have a serious impact on our cognitive function, not only in the short term but in the long term as well.


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