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Scientists looking at patients with long-term COVID-19 symptoms are concerned that they could later develop Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers from UT Health San Antonio have followed Covid patients with long-term neurological symptoms for the past year, and are presenting their findings this week at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.
The team found younger patients are likely to suffer from Covid-induced anxiety and depression, while patients in their 60s and 70s have symptoms similar to early-onset Alzheimer’s.
Even if a small number of Covid patients is impacted by long-term neurological issues, it could be devastating for the U.S. healthcare system.
Covid patients with long-term neurological symptoms are at high risk of developing Alzheimer’s later in life, new research suggests. Pictured: A staff member at a retirement home in France speaks with a resident in April 2020
Dr de Erausquin, lead researcher on the study, describes his findings in an April 2021 talk
While most people infected with the coronavirus have mild or no symptoms, a small number suffer for months – and could be impacted for years after they recover.
Common symptoms among these long-hauler patients are brain fog, memory problems, and fatigue, along with other neurological issues.
According to one study, up to a third of Covid patients show these symptoms – even after they appear to have recovered from the virus.
Scientists are now concerned that these long-term neurological symptoms could lead to worse conditions later in life.
New research from the University of Texas (UT) Health Science Center in San Antonio indicates that long Covid patients with neurological issues are at risk of Alzheimer’s.
The researchers followed Covid patients with these symptoms for about a year, with the study including more than 50 centers across 30 countries.
This week, the researchers are presenting preliminary findings at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, which started Monday in Denver, Colorado.
For Cassandra Hernandez, a nurse at a hospital in San Antonio, Texas, who matches the study’s patient profile, the initial sign of Covid was a loss of taste and smell.
‘I went home after working a 12-hour shift and sat down to eat a pint of ice cream with my husband and I couldn’t taste it,’ she told NPR.
After two weeks in the hospital and months at home disabled with fatigue, memory issues, and other symptoms, Hernandez has had a long road to recovery.
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