About this Research Topic
It is well established that prevention is the most useful action against cognitive deterioration, of both a primary or secondary nature. Thus, physical activity, appropriate nutrition, social support and social interactions, and cognitive stimulation are important measures for reducing cognitive decline. During the current COVID-19 crisis, where many countries have initiated isolation and lockdown procedures, it is likely that these protective factors are compromised, particularly in frail elderly, with or without mental disorders, at risk of developing dementia and those with and low cognitive/brain reserve, which may cause a cascade of events leading to cognitive impairment. Thus, in this Research Topic we launch a call related to all the below-mentioned issues to clarify risk factors and possible solutions:
1. Physical and social environments related to loneliness and mental health factors in persons over 50, with social cohesion and social participation playing an important role.
2. Quarantine measures leading to reduced social contact and increased loneliness in older individuals, especially those who live alone. About 1 out of 7 of households in the EU are composed of a single person aged 65 or over.
3. Reduced social network, isolation, and loneliness increasing generalized anxiety and major depression disorders in older persons.
4. Reduced caregiver support/psychological support of caregivers.
5. Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on caregivers and family stress.
6. Issues related to communicating information during the COVID-19 outbreak to persons with cognitive impairment; (e.g., educational and public health messages, social distancing laws etc).
7. Reduction in diagnosing new onset cases of cognitive impairment and other psychiatric disorders, which may delay the initiation of early treatment, leading to negative consequences for long-term clinical outcomes.
8. Reduction in physical activity and its effect on psychiatric symptoms and emergence of metabolic diseases (diabetes, obesity, hypertension).
9. People with existing mental health disorders might be more influenced by the emotional responses related to the pandemic that could lead to relapse or worsening of mental health symptoms.
10. New onset of anxiety, depression related to COVID-19 in terms of fear of infection.
11. People with existing mental health disorders may suffer during quarantine periods due difficulties accessing regular outpatient visits for evaluations and prescriptions; effects on medication management, dosage adjustment, side effects, drug adherence in geriatric psychiatry.
12. Worsening of symptoms in unmonitored patients (including patients with dementia syndromes, MCI, geriatric depression and anxiety).
13. Development of scales to measure neuropsychiatric, cognitive and other neuropsychiatric problems in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic and related infection-control measures (e.g., lockdowns, social distancing).
14. Practical solutions to support the elderly with neuropsychiatric diseases during quarantine and social distancing periods.
15. Web-platforms and telemedicine to help managing neuropsychiatric issues during periods of social isolation and movement restrictions.
***Due to the exceptional nature of the COVID-19 situation, Frontiers is waiving all article publishing charges for COVID-19 related research.***
Keywords: COVID-19, coronavirus, pandemic, elderly, mental health, dementia, cognitive impairment
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