It has long been known that some respiratory diseases can lead to inflammatory reactions. In a study, scientists have now determined how a corona infection affects Alzheimer’s risk.
A coronary infection significantly increases the risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s over the next twelve months. This is what emerges from a study carried out on the 8thth Congress of the European Academy of Neurology (EAN). In it, the researchers analyzed data from around 920,000 Danes who had taken a corona test. Nearly 44,000 of them tested positive.1
After Corona, Alzheimer’s is diagnosed more often
Compared to non-infected people, the researchers found that 3.5 times more doctors had Alzheimer’s in infected people. When asked by the dpa, however, two German experts stressed that, from their point of view, the corona infection did not trigger Alzheimer’s in the cases examined, but only revealed the symptoms of an existing disease.
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Course of Study
The team led by Dr Pardis Zarifkar of Copenhagen University Hospital evaluated Danish health data and compared the frequency with which some neurodegenerative diseases occurred in people with and without coronary infection over a period of one year. They found a similar connection to that in Alzheimer’s, for example in Parkinson’s and cerebral infarction. The researchers point out, however, that for most of the diseases studied – including Alzheimer’s disease – the effect was no greater than after influenza or bacterial pneumonia.
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The corona accelerator makes the symptoms visible earlier
It has long been known that such respiratory diseases lead to inflammatory reactions that can increase the damaging effect on nerve cells in the brain, explains Anja Schneider, leader of the research group at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) in Bonn, al “German news agency”. The increased risk of a diagnosis shown in the study may be due to the fact that a corona-related inflammatory reaction accelerates nerve cell damage and symptoms become visible more quickly.
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No increased risk of Alzheimer’s due to Corona?
Peter Berlit, general secretary of the German Society of Neurology (DGN), explained that the study cannot be used to conclude that a person after a corona infection has a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s later. It has only been shown that symptoms are diagnosed more frequently after an infection. He points out that external factors – such as the loss of the family environment because one has to go to a clinic – can also lead to existing Alzheimer’s disease becoming symptomatic.