the virus would increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or stroke

THE ESSENTIAL

  • This increased risk could be linked to the inflammation caused by the virus.
  • The frequency of other neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barré syndrome and narcolepsy did not increase with Covid-19 infection.

Nearly 540 million people have been infected with Covid-19 worldwide since the start of the pandemic. More than two years later, the long-term consequences of the disease remain unclear. A recent study, made public at the 8th Congress of the European Academy of Neurology, provides new information on this subject: the disease increased the risk of developing a neurodegenerative pathology.

A statistical analysis

The precise nature and evolution of the effects of Covid-19 on neurological disorders remains unclearrecalls Dr Pardis Zarifkar, lead author of the study and neurologist. Previous studies have established an association with neurological syndromes, but until now it was unclear whether Covid-19 also influences the incidence of specific neurological diseases and whether it differs from other respiratory infections.

To find out what the risks are, the neurologist and his team, researchers from the National Hospital in Copenhagen in Denmark, used data from almost half of the Danish population, including that of 919,000 people who tested positive for the Covid-19. In parallel, they also worked on the information of patients hospitalized or passed through outpatient services in Denmark between February 2020 and November 2021, as well as that of people with influenza in the pre-pandemic period. Using statistical tools, they observed the risks relating to certain diseases, according to the type of hospitalization, age, sex and comorbidities.

Increased risk of neurological diseases

They find that people who tested positive for the new coronavirus had a 3.5 times higher risk of having Alzheimer’s disease and 2.6 times higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Their risk of stroke was 2.7 times higher compared to other negative patients. As for that of intracerebral hemorrhage, it was 4.8 times greater. “We found evidence of an accumulated risk of being provided with neurodegenerative and cerebrovascular disorders in positive patients compared to negative patients, which needs to be confirmed or refuted by further studies in the near future.”says Dr. Pardis Zarifkar.

What about other respiratory diseases?

This increased risk for most neurological diseases is only valid for the comparison between people who tested positive and those who did not. In addition, there was no significant difference in risk between people who tested positive and those who had contracted another respiratory pathology such as the flu for example.

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