In the early days of the pandemic not a huge amount was understood about the Covid virus. Most people were aware of the common symptoms experienced when infected but that was about it. Since then scientists are continuing to uncover more about what some of the long-term effects of the virus could be.
Therefore, a group of researchers from universities in India and Spain were driven to gain a better understanding of the effects of COVID-19 on the brain.
They studied 14 patients with pre-existing dementia (four with Alzheimer’s disease, five with vascular dementia, three with Parkinson’s disease dementia, and two with frontotemporal dementia), who had suffered further cognitive deterioration following Covid infection.
Lead investigator Souvik Dubey explained: “We speculated there must have been some deleterious effect of COVID-19 in patients with pre-existing dementia extrapolating our understanding from the cognitive impact of this viral infection in patients without dementia.
“However, post-COVID-19 evaluation of cognitive impairments in patients with pre-existing dementia is difficult due to multiple confounders and biases.”
These findings suggest that dementia patients would have little defence to withstand a second infection or immune response and inflammation caused by Covid.
Dr Dubey, expressed the importance of the findings.
“As the ageing population and dementia are increasing globally, we believe pattern recognition of COVID-19-associated cognitive deficits is urgently needed to distinguish between COVID-19-associated cognitive impairments per se and other types of dementia,” he said.
“This understanding will have a definitive impact on future dementia research.”