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Study finds dementia patients have greater risk of COVID-19

A recent study, COVID‐19 and dementia: Analyses of risk, disparity, and outcomes from electronic health records in the US, has found a new strategy to help control the COVID-19 pandemic– protect dementia patients.

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University analyzed electronic health records of 61.9 million people age 18 and older in the US through a six-month period: February 2020 – August 2020. The data came from 360 hospitals and 317,000 health care providers across all 50 states.

They found that people with dementia had a significantly greater risk of contracting COVID-19 and that they were much more likely to be hospitalized and die from it than people without dementia.

Researchers also found that people of color with dementia were almost three times more likely to become infected with the virus, a finding that experts said most likely reflected the fact that people of color generally have been disproportionately harmed during the pandemic.

This study’s data does not include more isolated and poorer patients that have a harder time getting to doctors. Therefore, the study may underestimate the greater COVID-19 infection risk for those with dementia.

Risk could not be entirely explained by characteristics common to people with dementia: old age, living in a nursing home, obesity, asthma, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. After researchers adjusted for those factors, Americans with dementia were still twice as likely to have gotten COVID-19 as of late last summer.

Dr. Kristine Yaffe, professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, commented, “It’s pretty convincing in suggesting that there’s something about dementia that makes you more vulnerable.”

How can you help your loved ones with dementia stay safe from the prevalent threats of COVID-19? Remind them to wash their hands, wear their masks, and keep social distance from others. Help them gain access to nutritious foods, stimulate their brain through mental exercise and games, and if possible, get them to exercise in a safe environment. For more tips on preventing and reversing memory loss, and fortifying your body against COVID-19, visit our 4 Pillars of Alzheimer’s Prevention®.

To view the entire study, click here.

 

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