Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) Covid-19 Study: Understanding the Impact of COVID‑19 on Brain Health

Liu-Ambrose, Teresa Y | $722,703

British Columbia University of British Columbia 2020 CIHR Operating Grant

The COVID‑19 pandemic is a defining global health crisis and our greatest challenge since World War II. While patterns are emerging with respect to the characteristics of individuals with symptomatic infections requiring hospitalization, much remains unknown, including the impact of COVID‑19 on our cognition and brain. The virus that causes COVID‑19 belongs to a family of viruses that possess the capacity to directly impact the brain. COVID‑19 patients are presenting with a wide variety of neurological signs and symptoms, including stroke, confusion, and the loss of smell; these observations support the notion that COVID‑19 can have significant consequences for our cognitive function and brain health, including increased dementia risk. Thus, we aim to measure the possible impact of COVID‑19 on cognitive function, brain structure, and brain function in adults aged 55 to 70 years who are also participants of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA). The CLSA is the largest and longest Canadian study on adult development and aging. Participants will undergo repeated cognitive testing (i.e., baseline, 5, and 10 months) and brain scanning (i.e., baseline and 10 months). Results will inform the clinical management of COVID-19, such as the need to monitor cognitive function over time and timely deployment of preventative and therapeutic approaches to promote brain health.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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