Updated: Apr 25, 2022
The answer is yes, preliminary research shows that COVID-19 can affect memory. This does not mean that everyone who contacts covid will suffer from memory loss, but it is an important reason to take precautions to avoid getting covid.
Last December, when friends and family heard that I decided to receive the covid vaccine, they were surprised. They knew I was very weary of vaccines or anything that wasn’t natural. What they didn’t know, was that for months I had been following the long term effects of COVID-19 and I was especially concerned about the virus’ effect on the brain.
In horror I was reading about people who recovered from a mild case of covid, but suffered from what was being called brain fog. Several could no longer concentrate and had to leave their jobs. For many this covid side effect passed, but for others the brain fog continued. This effect on the brain, together with other long term side effects, made me understand that covid was not a regular flu, but a very serious and dangerous illness. I chose to get vaccinated to prevent getting the virus and the possible side effects associated with it.
Last week was The Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2021 (AAIC 2021), one of the largest ever conferences on Alzheimer’s. There were 12,000 in person and virtual attendees from 110 countries.
One of the most publicized studies from the AAIC 2021 conference was the research on the impact of COVID-19 on the brain. It was a joint research project that took place in 40 countries. The results showed that some people who had COVID-19 were experiencing long term changes in their memory. *In Argentina the researchers found that people who had a change in their sense of smell also had a change in their memory.
“The more severe your lack of smell, the more severe your cognitive impairment.” 1
The researchers also noted that the changes in memory had nothing to do with how ill someone had been with COVID-19.
Did you know that the area in our brain for our sense of smell is next to the area for storing memories and the nerve cells are connected?
*In Greece, researchers found that patients aged 61 and over who recovered from covid but who suffered from covid fatigue had more cognitive decline. *In New York researchers found that those who had memory changes due to COVID-19 also had some of the biological markers associated with Alzheimer’s.
The virus may be causing an inflammation in the brain that affects memory. More research needs to be done and no one knows if the memory change is temporary, but in the meantime, this is very worrying.
“The gist of what these studies as a whole are showing is that there are some transient increases or changes that are indicative of brain inflammation and injury and also overlap with some of the changes that occur with neurodegeneration.”1
I hope you are convinced that you should try everything possible to avoid getting covid, but if you are concerned about getting vaccinated, check out this interesting side effect of vaccines:
Could Common Vaccines Protect Against Alzheimer’s Disease?
These are some very interesting studies that are checking if vaccines such as annual flu shots or pneumonia vaccines may reduce the chances of getting Alzheimer’s. Researchers are trying to see if these vaccinations may protect against cognitive decline.
“In this dataset, people who had received even one flu shot in years prior were 17 percent less likely to have AD than the unvaccinated group. Among the vaccinated subset, receiving yearly flu shots in the past dropped the odds of AD by another 13 percent” 2
Scientists do not yet know the reason why vaccines may reduce the chances of someone getting Alzheimer’s, but they hypothesize that the vaccines may induce an immune response that reduces inflammation in the brain.
The studies are only at the preliminary stage and are now being conducted on larger and more diverse populations. It is very interesting that a side effect of a flu shot or pneumonia vaccine may actually protect the brain.
2 You can read the summary of these papers about vaccines protecting the brain here:
Although this research is fascinating, I feel I have to mention that you can also help prevent inflammation in the body through diet and a healthy life style.
What about the COVID-19 Vaccine?
If other vaccines have been shown to reduce inflammation and prevent dementia, could the covid vaccine also help prevent cognitive decline? Of course only time will tell, but there certainly will be a large worldwide, elderly population to follow up on. Wouldn't it be wonderful if a result of the pandemic would be a reduction in dementia worldwide .
We don’t yet know if the covid vaccine may help reduce cognitive decline, but we do now know that the covid virus can cause dementia temporarily or permanently.
Taking the 3rd Booster Vaccine
We are constantly making choices in our lives and in the lives of our family by weighing the pros and cons. Many choose to drive for the convenience even though they could be involved in a car accident. Most parents want their children to develop well physically and mentally so they allow them to participate in sports activities even though their child might suffer an injury. This week I was deliberating whether to take the 3rd vaccine since we here in Israel are really the test case for the rest of the world and it's scary to be the guinea pig. I needed to weigh the risk of receiving a booster of a vaccine that I already took, to possibly becoming infected with a virus that may have long term effects. I'm sure my friends and family will again be surprised, but I decided to take the 3rd vaccine.
The bottom line – try to avoid getting COVID-19 and help those you love do the same.
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