According to a recent EurkeAlert! article, Penn State scientists think COVID-19, like Alzheimer’s disease and similar disorders, could contribute to cognitive decline. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke thinks they may be on to something, and is awarding the university $1.6 million to investigate it. Roughly a third of COVID-19 cases have been in people 50 years or older, a demographic that has a heightened risk of developing a neurodegenerative disease.
Research suggests COVID symptoms such as “brain fog” and loss of taste and smell are linked to a higher risk of dementia diagnosis after acute infection. This has caused speculation that COVID infections could contribute to early cognitive decline. To investigate further, a multidisciplinary team will conduct a multiyear study that will identify biomarkers of Parkinson’s disease and similar disorders through MRI scans and molecules from blood, skin and cerebral spinal fluid samples.