About this Research Topic
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected individuals who are at risk of dementia and cognitive decline. First, healthcare has been disrupted, causing delays in diagnoses and reduction in face-to-face patient management. Second, lockdowns and quarantine scenarios have created barriers to risk factor control, e.g., due to dietary changes, reduced physical activity, lack of social and cognitive stimulation etc. Third, ongoing dementia prevention trials have been disrupted or delayed due to the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection in participants and research staff. In addition, psychiatric symptoms and disorders may be increased in older persons and those with cognitive impairment due to reduced social contact and anxiety related to the pandemic and risk of infection.
The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has differed considerably between countries; some have initiated strict, regular lockdowns while others have provided general, unenforced guidelines to the general population. Each country’s economic, cultural, and social framework has led to a different response, yet it is not yet clear what affect this has on individuals in society. Several countries are now into second and third waves of COVID-19 and, although vaccination programs are ongoing, it is not yet clear how long the pandemic will continue and whether we will continue to need infection control measures in the long-term future.
The current Research Topic aims to examine, from a global perspective, how the ongoing pandemic is affecting adults at risk of cognitive decline and related dementia prevention trials. We particularly welcome submissions from ongoing research projects that have pre-pandemic data on participants as well as multinational studies with harmonized data collection methods.
The following topics will be considered:
-What affect has the pandemic had on risk factors for cognitive disorders, particularly, metabolic and vascular risk factors and modifiable lifestyle factors such as physical inactivity, cognitive and social stimulation, mental health, nutritional factors?
-Are there cross-country differences in public health measures that have differentially affected older individuals in terms of managing modifiable risk factors (e.g., access to medical care and drugs, opportunities for physical activity, availability of social support or cognitive stimulation, access to health foods etc)?
-What will the long-term impact of the pandemic be in terms of dementia incidence considering the potential increase in risk factors such as physical inactivity and low physical activity?
-Which countries have provided specific support to older people at risk of cognitive decline during the COVID-19 pandemic and what is the success of these interventions?
-What support can be provided to individuals at risk of dementia to increase risk factor management during and after the COVID-19 pandemic?
How has the pandemic affected ongoing research trials that aim to prevent dementia or cognitive decline through multidomain interventions?
-How can dementia prevention trials use digital technologies to deliver interventions during and after the COVID-19 pandemic?
-How can ongoing randomized control trials adapt their protocols to the pandemic and how will this affect interpretation of results?
-How can ongoing trials harmonize their data to evaluate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on risk factors for cognitive decline?
-What are the characteristics of people who are more likely to drop out from prevention trials during the COVID-19 pandemic? How can participation rates be increased?
- Development of scales, surveys and protocols to measure neuropsychiatric, cognitive, and lifestyle changes during the COVID-19 pandemic in persons at risk of cognitive disorders.
We welcome the following article types:
-Brief research report
*Note that opinions, commentaries, perspectives, non-systematic reviews etc will not be considered for this research topic. Original data articles will be prioritized.
Keywords: social isolation, anxiety, older adults
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.