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Video Interview: Is There an Increased Incidence of Neurodegenerative Diseases in Patients with COVID-19?


In a recent video interview, neurologist Pardis Zarifkar, MD discussed a new study that found significantly elevated risks for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease among patients who tested positive for COVID-19.

In a new study presented recently at the 8th European Academy of Neurology (EAN) Congress in Vienna, Austria, researchers from Denmark found that patients who tested positive for COVID-19 were 3.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and 2.6 times more likely to have Parkinson’s disease in comparison to patients without COVID-19.

(Editor's note: For a related article, see "New Study Shows Link Between COVID-19 and Elevated Risks for Neurological Disorders.")

In a recent video interview, neurologist Pardis Zarifkar, MD discussed the findings of the exploratory observational study.

The study authors also found that patients with COVID-19 had a 2.7 times higher risk of ischemic stroke and a 4.8 times higher risk for intracerebral hemorrhage. While the higher prevalence of cerebrovascular disorders was expected given the previously reported association between these disorders and COVID-19, the “extent of the increase (with neurodegenerative disorders) was quite surprising,” noted Dr. Zarifkar, who is affiliated with the Department of Neurology at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, Denmark.

That said, Dr. Zarifkar emphasized that “neurodegenerative disorders are a long time in the making” and it is “highly unlikely” that a COVID-19 infection could cause the development of a neurodegenerative disorder at one year.

While maintaining that more research is needed to evaluate potential long-term neurological complications with COVID-19, Dr. Zarifkar is also hopeful that future studies will examine the phenomenon of cognitive and mental health issues after critical illness.

For more insights from Dr. Zarifkar, watch the video below:

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