Infection with COVID-19 is no longer a public emergency: But what about degenerative dementia?

Yulug B., Ayyıldız B., Ayyıldız S., Sayman D., SALAR A. B., Cankaya S., ...More

Journal of Medical Virology, vol.95, no.9, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 95 Issue: 9
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/jmv.29072
  • Journal Name: Journal of Medical Virology
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Veterinary Science Database
  • Keywords: cognition, COVID infection, fMRI, hippocampal connectivity
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


Although no longer considered a public health threat, post-COVID cognitive syndrome continues to impact on a considerable proportion of individuals who were infected with COVID-19. Recent studies have also suggested that COVID may be represent a critical risk factor for the development of Alzheimer's disease (AD). We compared 17 COVID patients with 20 controls and evaluated the effects of COVID-19 on general cognitive performance, hippocampal volume, and connections using structural and seed-based connectivity analysis. We showed that COVID patients exhibited considerably worse cognitive functioning and increased hippocampal connectivity supported by the strong correlation between hippocampal connectivity and cognitive scores. Our findings of higher hippocampal connectivity with no observable hippocampal morphological changes even in mild COVID cases may be represent evidence of a prestructural compensatory mechanism for stimulating additional neuronal resources to combat cognitive dysfunction as recently shown for the prodromal stages of degenerative cognitive disorders. Our findings may be also important in light of recent data showing that other viral infections as well as COVID may constitute a critical risk factor for the development of AD. To our knowledge, this is the first study that investigated network differences in COVID patients, with a particular focus on compensatory hippocampal connectivity.