Dementia patients are twice as likely to contract Covid - Study | Daily News

Dementia patients are twice as likely to contract Covid - Study

People with dementia had significantly greater risk of contracting the coronavirus, and they were much more likely to be hospitalized and die from it, than people without dementia, a new study of millions of medical records in the United States has found.

Their risk could not be entirely explained by characteristics common to people with dementia that are known risk factors for Covid-19: old age, living in a nursing home and having conditions like 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.

“It’s pretty convincing in suggesting that there’s something about dementia that makes you more vulnerable,” said Dr. Kristine Yaffe, a professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, who was not involved in the study.

The study found that Black people with dementia were nearly three times as likely as white people with dementia 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 highlights the need to protect patients with dementia, especially those who are Black,” the authors wrote.

Maria Carrillo, chief science officer of the Alzheimer’s Association, which runs the journal that published the study, Alzheimer’s and Dementia, said in an interview, “One of the things that has come from this Covid situation is that we should be pointing out these disparities.”

The study was led by researchers at Case Western Reserve University who analyzed electronic health records of 61.9 million people age 18 and older in the United States from Feb. 1 through Aug. 21, 2020. The data, collected by IBM Watson Health Explorys, came from 360 hospitals and 317,000 health care providers across all 50 states and represented a fifth of the American population, the authors said.

Rong Xu, a professor of biomedical informatics at Case Western and the senior author of the study, said there had been speculation about whether people with dementia were more prone to infection and harm from Covid-19.

“We thought, ‘We have the data, we can just test this hypothesis,’” Dr. Xu said. (NYT)