Direct and indirect neurological, cognitive, and behavioral effects of COVID-19 on the healthy elderly, mild-cognitive-impairment, and Alzheimer’s disease populations

Francesco Iodice, Valeria Cassano, Paolo M. Rossini

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Healthy elderly, mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease populations have been among the most affected in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic due to the direct effects of the virus, and numerous indirect effects now emerge and will have to be carefully assessed over time. Methods: This article reviews the main articles that have been published so far about the direct and indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on these particularly fragile populations. Results: The pandemic associated to COVID-19 has shifted most of the health resources to the emergency area and has consequently left the three main medical areas dealing with the elderly population (oncology, time-dependent diseases and degenerative disease) temporarily “uncovered”. In the phase following the emergency, it will be crucial to guarantee to each area the economic and organizational resources to quickly return to the level of support of the prepandemic state. Conclusions: The emergency phase represented a significant occasion of discussion on the possibilities of telemedicine which will inevitably become increasingly important, but all the limits of its use in the elderly population have to be considered. In the post-lockdown recovery phase, alongside the classic medical evaluation, the psychological evaluation must become even more important for doctors caring about people with cognitive decline as well as with their caregivers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-465
Number of pages11
JournalNeurological Sciences
Volume42
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

Keywords

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Anxiety
  • Behavioral effects
  • COVID-19
  • Depressive disorders
  • Mild cognitive impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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