New Jersey doctors study impact of COVID-19 and its effects on the human brain
Some New Jersey doctors are trying to figure out if COVID-19 could have lasting effects on the human brain.
Dr. Alexander Salerno, of Salerno Medical Associates, is teaming with Rutgers University for a study that could lead to future breakthroughs for the treatment of dementia stemming from the impacts of coronavirus on the brain.
“I had a problem with my legs and a back problem,” says patient Charles Berry.
Berry, 70, has been Salerno’s patient for about three years and has agreed to be part of the study.
“As long as I’ve been in it, it’s been like, ‘OK, what can we do to help him?’” Berry says.
The study is still in its early stages of enrollment. But once the doctors get the right sample size of patients, they will be monitoring African Americans and Hispanics who are 65 years old and older, on a regular basis.
“We’re doing cognitive exams…There are some blood tests involved…It’s diagnostic imaging…We’re not putting anything into your body,” Salerno says.
There is interest in the Black and brown communities because older Black adults are twice as likely to get Alzheimer’s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At the height of the pandemic, the mortality rate among Blacks was even higher than that.
“We're following the footsteps of other diseases and how they manage or mismanage in certain populations,” Salerno says.
The five-year study will look for possible connections between the disparities. And as for Berry, since joining the study, he says he feels fine and he's doing a lot of the things he enjoys.
The doctor says they're still in the patient enrollment phase, and they haven't had obstacles in getting participants.