16 September 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in an increased societal and scientific awareness of the potential long-term cognitive problems patients may experience recovering from COVID-19. In  critical care medicine, there is also increasing evidence of associations between other infections and persistent cognitive deficits and dementia. However, previous studies examining the relation between infections and cognitive decline lacked premorbid MRI scans. A potential explanation is that patients with  infections already had more brain damage and were therefore more prone to develop cognitive decline after the infection.

The current study investigated the effects of infectious events on cognitive decline and the development of dementia and its possible structural underpinning using pre- and post-infection MRI of the brain. The research group, led by dr. Farid Abdo from the department of Intensive Care Medicine, in collaboration with the department of Neurology published their results in Critical Care Medicine, on August 23 2021.

The researchers used the dataset from the prospective observational Radboud University Nijmegen Diffusion Tensor and Magnetic Resonance Cohort (RUN DMC) study, in which participants underwent repeated cognitive measurements and brain MRI during 9-year follow-up. Data on infectious episodes during follow-up were collected and were available from 331 patients. They found that sepsis episodes were significantly associated with an 82% increased risk to develop dementia within 10 years. This highlights sepsis as an important risk factor for the development of dementia regardless of age, baseline cognition, and pre-existent brain damage.

Given the ageing population, and the increased risk for infections during senescence, developing interventions that modulate the risk of dementia due to severe infections would be an important target. To increase the understanding of the neuroinflammatory response in patients with systemic inflammation they are currently performing follow-up prospective studies. The researchers hope that this will contribute to the development of effective treatments to reduce long-term cognitive deficits after surviving severe infections, such as COVID-19.

Publication

Peters van Ton AM, Meijer-van Leijsen EMC, Bergkamp MI, Bronkhorst EM, Pickkers P, de Leeuw FE, Tuladhar AM, Abdo WF. Risk of Dementia and Structural Brain Changes Following Nonneurological Infections During 9-Year Follow-Up. Crit Care Med. 2021 Aug 23. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000005313. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34432713.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34432713/

 

 

Related news items


BRAINMODEL: precision medicine for brain disorders

25 October 2021

A team of researchers from Radboudumc, VU Amsterdam and other institutes is going to look for new and better ways to heal developmental disorders in the brain.

read more

How healthy is James Bond? - A flu to a kill No time to die: the pathogens surrounding secret agent 007

21 October 2021

James Bond made a total of 25 films between 1962 and 2021. In all those films, secret agent 007 washed his hands only twice, even though he often stayed in not so hygienic places with considerable health risks. Radboudumc researchers examined all the health risks in the 47 countries Bond visited.

read more

Surprisingly dominant cause underlying type I congenital defect of glycosylation

21 October 2021

Alex Garanto, Melissa Bärenfänger, Mirian Janssen, and Dirk Lefeber published a new study, identifying a surprisingly dominant genetic cause underlying type I congenital defect of glycosylation with neuromusculoskeletal phenotypes.

read more

Sensitive blood-test as a patient-friendly alternative for bone marrow-based cancer monitoring

20 October 2021

Hans Jacobs and Pieter Langerhorst, theme Cancer development and immune defense, and colleagues are one step closer to implementation of personalized diagnostics for bone marrow-based cancer monitoring.

read more

Register for peer coaching for RIMLS PhD candidates

20 October 2021

As a PhD candidate, you are in the lead of your own learning process, but you don’t need to do this alone. Register for the peer-coaching group ‘Stay in the lead – Together’ before 11 November 2021.

read more