Study: People with dementia more likely to contract coronavirus, be hospitalized

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Many older Americans reported depression, anxiety and trouble sleeping during the pandemic.

Older Americans suffering from dementia are at an increased risk of contracting the coronavirus and being hospitalized with serious complications from the resulting disease, according to a new study. 

The study, commissioned by Case Western University, found that Americans with dementia are twice as likely to contract the coronavirus and experience severe complications from COVID-19 as people who do not have dementia. 

“It’s pretty convincing in suggesting that there’s something about dementia that makes you more vulnerable,” Kristine Yaffe, a professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco who was not involved in the study, told The New York Times, referring to the research. 

An estimated 5.8 million Americans age 65 and older and 50 million people worldwide are living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, the study found, noting that many of the common comorbidities in patients with dementia are also “demonstrated risk factors for COVID‐19 and are associated with worse clinical outcomes.” 

Among patients with dementia, Black people were twice as likely to contract the coronavirus than their white counterparts.

Patients with dementia who contracted the virus had significantly worse outcomes, including long hospital stays and higher death rates, than patients suffering from dementia or COVID‐19 alone. 

“One of the things that has come from this COVID situation is that we should be pointing out these disparities,” Maria Carrillo, chief science officer of the Alzheimer’s Association, told the Times. 

A separate study released in November found that the coronavirus can have mental health impacts on patients years after they have recovered. 

Tags Alzheimer's disease Coronavirus disease Dementia
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