Why is dementia and Alzheimer’s disease associated with a greater risk of death from Covid-19? Elizabeth Tracey

April 19, 2021

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Alzheimer’s disease now joins the list of conditions associated with greater risk when it comes to Covid-19, a recent study demonstrates. Brian Garibaldi, a critical care medicine expert at Johns Hopkins, explains why that might be so.

Garibaldi: In general people who have dementia or advanced neurological illness oftentimes they will end up having problems protecting their airways following having recurring infections, pneumonia. Part of it could be related to, if you look at our initial population who got admitted from nursing homes about half of them had dementia. We know that that was a high risk group independent of dementia living in a nursing facility or being in that environment, particularly early on that was a risk for severe disease and even death. There’s also speculation that people with dementia are less able to report their symptoms.  :31

For now Garibaldi says the data clearly point to the need to protect those with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia from being infected with the coronavirus, and to vaccinate as soon as possible. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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