Loss of taste and smell because of contracting COVID-19 has been of concern for neurologists during the pandemic, along with the long-term effects that can impact the brain, nervous system and an individuals quality of life.
In early January, a new report published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association by dementia researchers from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, shines a light on these long-term effects of the disease and the chronic consequences that can affect a patient’s brain health and independence after discharged from the hospital.
“Even mild COVID-19 infections may have negative effects on the brain long term,” explained Dr. Gabriel de Erausquin, lead author and an investigator at Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
“Since the flu pandemic of 1917 and 1918, many of the flulike diseases have been associated with brain disorders,” Dr. de Erausquin said, and we may see an, “accelerated cognitive decline over time in susceptible individuals.”
The Alzheimer’s & Dementia article cites brain diseases have historically affected memory and behavior, explained Maria C. Carrillo, PhD, Alzheimer’s Association chief science officer and a coauthor on the report.
A global study on the risk is urgently needed, according to The Alzheimer’s Association that is funding the research from experts from more than 30 countries to better understand how the coronavirus can increase the risk to the central nervous system and the progression of neurodegenerative diseases from contracting COVID-19, including Alzheimer’s, along with other psychiatric diseases such as depression.
Dr. Maria C. Carrillo says the global outreach and evidence is a silver lining, and will “illuminate COVID-19’s long-term impact on the brain.”
The authors of the study point out that collected information will happen over the next two to three years and initial results for evaluation are expected in early 2022.
Here’s more on the long-term cognitive effects of the coronavirus.