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COVID-19 And Memory Loss: Is There A Connection Between The Virus And A Loss Of Memory?

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - A growing number of people are reaching out to doctors concerned about their memory or the memory of a loved one.

Now, with COVID-19, doctors are seeing a correlation between COVID-19 and Alzheimer's.

It is a disturbing trend and a study at the Cleveland Clinic says they are seeing dementia symptoms surfacing in COVID patients.

Dr. Riddhi Patira at UPMC is an Assistant Professor of Cognitive Division of Neurology and an Alzheimer Investigator. She says while it's too early to say COVID causes dementia, it does reveal it.

"They might have underlined, Alzheimer's, and after COVID, it can get unmasked, and then we can see the signs of Alzheimer's, and these are the long haul patients that might never improve," she says.

In fact, she says there may be no previous warning of dementia ahead.

"Now you may not have overt signs of dementia, and then you contract something like COVID, and then you're prone to be more confused and maybe then the disease is unmasked," she explains.

Even without the COVID influence, Dr. Patira has a lot of patients coming to see her with concerns about their memory lapses.

"You know, that's one good sign because people forget what they forget in Alzheimer's," Dr. Patira says. "If your family has more concerns than you, that's one red flag. That's what I look for, and right off the bat when I start my interview, I see if there's any discrepancy between what patients have noticed, as opposed to family."

In other words, if you are aware of your memory lapses it's a good sign.

The concern brings a lot of questions about the supplements that advertise they improve memory.

"If we had a magic bullet, I will be the first one taking it," she says.

Dr. Patira says patients see the ads and they want to know if it works.

"That's a very common question I get, like in 50% of my patients, they asked me about it, every time they see me, and [say], 'I do this every day of my life.' I started nodding my head no," Dr. Patira says.

In some cases, she says word of mouth is way out in front of science.

"So we can say anything, like turmeric, or omega3, fish oils or those kinds of things," she says. "Maybe they have some role, we will learn more in future. But there are things we know that doesn't work. So Prevagen is one, and Ginko a second, because both were studied in control trials, and they both did not pan out anything."

So Dr. Patira says to be careful.

"These are just aggressive marketing strategies because people are desperate."

She adds if you are not paying a fortune and you think it helps, go for it.

But do not overdo it.

Follow recommended dosages because more is not at all better.

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