According to Economic Times, dementia is rising due to greater lifespan, with disastrous individual, social, and monetary implications. The underlying etiology is unknown, and existing therapies are frequently ineffectual.
Despite the widespread perception that dementia and other neurodegenerative illnesses are an inescapable aspect of aging, there is mounting evidence to the contrary. The majority of dementia cases, including viral dementia, are avoidable.
Viruses like COVID increase neurodegeneration and brain damage. Compared to the general population, COVID-positive outpatients had a more than threefold and a twofold increase in risk for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, respectively.
According to a survey of almost 3 million people, the risk of mental illness reverted to pre-infection levels a month or two after COVID infection. However, even after two years, additional difficulties, such as “brain fog” and dementia, were more frequent than in the control group.
Over 6 million people over 65 who tested positive for COVID had a 70% higher chance of acquiring a new diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease within a year than those who were not infected.
To assess the long-term consequences of an acute infection, almost 150,000 COVID patients and 11,000,000 healthy controls were studied. There was a 40% increase in risk (an additional 71 cases per 1000 persons) of neurologic diseases one year after infection, including memory impairments (80% increased risk) and Alzheimer’s disease (two-fold higher risk). These risks were increased even in people who did not have acute COVID symptoms severe enough to need hospitalization.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus can replicate in the brain and induce the same symptoms as SARS. Some viruses can instantly cause severe brain damage. A study of nearly two million people found that individuals vaccinated against the flu had a considerably lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
A steady decline in mental capacity defines dementia. Memory, orientation, understanding, language, and judgment, among other cognitive and emotional talents, must be used, and changes in one’s emotional state frequently accompany this.
It is a significant element in the senior-impaired population. Globally, more than 55 million people are affected, with over 10 million new cases recorded yearly. It is responsible for around 7% of all yearly fatalities. The global cost of dementia is expected to exceed $1.3 trillion in 2019.
Prevention becomes even more critical in the absence of adequate therapeutic alternatives. Because of the relationship to viral illnesses, greater emphasis should be placed on improving vaccination rates (against flu, COVID, and any future variations) and refuting vaccine myths.
The association between atherosclerosis, stroke, and diabetes supports primary prevention, which includes healthier diets (plant-based diets low in salt and saturated fats), physical exercise, and weight control.
Traumatic brain injuries can be caused by sports and, probably more crucially, by falls and automobile accidents. It’s a worldwide issue, and people are starting to realize that they may assist in preventing accidents involving the elderly. In the aftermath of multiple high-profile incidents in contact sports, efforts are being made to manage concussions properly.
Even 30 years after the first injury, the risk of acquiring dementia remains high, and no evidence is known on how optimal treatment of the initial damage can improve this risk. Because risk factors for dementia, such as viral infection, may be avoided, this information should drive public policy and individual decisions.