New study finds increased risk between people with dementia and COVID


ST. LOUIS – A new study reveals people living with dementia have a significantly greater risk of contracting COVID-19.

The study, led by researchers at Case Western Reserve University, examined the medical records of nearly 62 million people. They found the risk of contracting COVID-19 was twice and high for those living with dementia, and that Black individuals with dementia were three times as likely to contract COVID-19 compared to whites.

The study hypothesized that something in vascular functioning is connecting dementia to the virus.

“One of the trains of thought is it really has to do with how COVID-19 impacts the vascular system. Hypertension and diabetes both impact the vascular system and those are linked to a higher prevalence of Alzheimer’s and dementia,” said Sarah Lovegreen, the vice presidents of programs for the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Missouri Chapter.

There are still a lot of questions about the link between the two. Does COVID make already existing dementia worse?

Lovegreen said the Alzheimer’s Association is leading a group of researchers across the globe who are digging deeper into how COVID-19 relates to brain functioning, brain health, and dementia.

It may take a while to get all those answers, but local support is just one call away.

“We are here and we are offering free support to families through planning and education and anyone can give us a call,” Lovegreen said. “We are happy to answer any questions that they have or connect them to the resources that they need.”

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