COVID-19: Dementia Is an Age-independent Risk Factor for Disease Severity and Death

Pavankumar Kamat


May 11, 2021


  • All-cause dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are risk factors for disease severity and death in patients with COVID-19, independent of their age.

Why this matters

  • Findings highlight all-cause dementia or AD as targets for rigorous preventive measures, improved surveillance and early intervention in patients with COVID-19.

Study design

  • The study included 12,863 community-dwelling participants (age, >65 years) from the UK Biobank who were tested for COVID-19.

  • All participants were categorised into 3 age groups:

    • 66-74 years (n=6182);

    • 75-79 years (n=4867); and

    • 80-86 years (n=1814).

  • Funding: Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro and others.

Key results

  • Of 12,863 participants, 1167 tested positive for COVID-19 and 11,696 tested negative.

  • The overall risk of COVID-19-positive diagnosis increased with (OR; 95% CI):

    • all-cause dementia (3.412; 2.234-5.213);

    • AD (5.700; 3.709-8.762); and

    • Parkinson’s disease (PD; 2.242; 1.511-3.328; P<.001 for all).

  • Only all-cause dementia (OR, 5.837; 95% CI, 3.386-9.880) and AD (OR, 6.551; 95% CI, 2.892-14.398; P<.001 for both) were associated with a higher risk of COVID-19-positive diagnosis in individuals aged ≥80 years.

  • The risk of COVID-19-related hospitalisation increased with (OR; 95% CI):

    • all-cause dementia (3.929; 2.650-5.772; P<.001);

    • AD (5.789; 3.088-10.856; P<.001); and

    • PD (2.001; 1.240-3.127; P=.003).

  • All-cause dementia (OR, 2.172; 95% CI, 1.231-3.900; P=.008) and AD (OR, 2.766; 95% CI, 1.123-7.420; P=.032) increased the risk of COVID-19-related death.

  • All-cause dementia was uniquely associated with an increased risk of COVID-19-related death in individuals aged ≥80 years (OR, 3.544; 95% CI, 1.236-11.634; P=.024).


  • Total number of COVID-19 cases in the study cohort was limited.

Tahira AC, Verjovski-Almeida S, Ferreira ST. Dementia is an age-independent risk factor for severity and death in COVID-19 inpatients. Alzheimers Dement. 2021 Apr 21 [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1002/alz.12352. PMID: 33881211.  View full text

This clinical summary originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.


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