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Front Psychiatry ; 11: 599844, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-983689


Background: In the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, many countries made changes to the routine management of patients with non-communicable diseases, including neurocognitive disorders. Therefore, many "so-called" non-urgent elective procedures and outpatient appointments have been canceled or postponed, possibly impacting negatively on health and well-being of patients in the short- and long-term. Aim: Here, we aimed at describing numbers and types of outpatient appointments canceled as a result of government's restrictive measures in our memory clinic. Methods: The scheduled appointments at the memory clinic of the Santa Lucia Foundation IRCCS, Rome, Italy, are recorded in a comprehensive dataset under strict administrative control. Here, we compared appointments (first-time and follow-up) that were canceled from January to April 2020 with those of the corresponding months in 2019. Results: We observed a substantial decrease in appointments during 2020. The majority of scheduled appointments were follow-up, and about a quarter were first-time appointments. We estimated that 66.7% and 77.4% of patients missed out respectively their first and follow-up appointments in our memory clinic due to government's restrictive measures in March-April 2020. Conclusions: A large number of patients with neurocognitive disorders missed crucial appointments due to government's restrictive measures, and many experienced a delay in initial diagnosis and initiation of treatment. This has relevant impact on their treatment and consequently has (is still having and potentially will have) an increase on the healthcare service burden of clinics. Furthermore, as a second wave of COVID-19 affects Europe, and with winter approaching, it is a compelling priority to ensure easy and rapid access to appropriate assessment, care and treatment in the event of a new outbreak and potential subsequent lockdowns, with particular attention to the development of specific healthcare technologies customized to older persons with cognitive impairment.

Front Psychiatry ; 11: 599851, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-961663


Background: During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, many non-urgent outpatient services in Italy were closed due to the Government-enforced lockdown period. So far, little is known about what effect the pandemic, quarantine measures, and reductions in medical services had on people with cognitive impairment and their caregivers. Objectives: To develop two versions (i.e., patients and informants/caregivers) of a survey designed to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic during the first Italian lockdown period (11 March -4 May 2020) on Memory Clinic outpatients with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) or dementia, and their caregivers. Design: Psychiatrists, neuropsychologists, and epidemiologists developed two versions: one for patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment and other cognitive disorders, the other for their relatives and/or caregivers. Each version of the survey includes five sections: (a) socio-demographic information and access to technology devices; (b) individual COVID-19 protection methods; (c) knowledge about COVID-19; (d) the effect of COVID-19 on daily life; and (e) the effect of COVID-19 on emotional state. Conclusion: Until an effective vaccine is developed it is likely that future waves of COVID-19 will result in shielding of vulnerable older adults. We believe that this instrument will be useful as a tool to collect information and help clinicians to promptly respond to changes in patients' cognitive, psychiatric, and somatic health needs, and to help for future planning in possible subsequent quarantine periods.

J Pers Med ; 10(3)2020 Aug 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-730853


SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, leads to a respiratory syndrome and other manifestations. Most affected people show no or mild symptoms, but the risk of severe disease and death increases in older people. Here, we report a narrative review on selected studies targeting aging-related chronic neuroinflammation in the COVID-19 pandemic. A hyperactivation of the innate immune system with elevated levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines occurs during severe COVID-19, pointing to an important role of the innate immune dysregulation in the disease outcome. Aging is characterized by a general condition of low-grade inflammation, also connected to chronic inflammation of the brain (neuroinflammation), which is involved in frailty syndrome and contributes to several age-associated diseases, including neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders. Since neuroinflammation can be induced or worsened by the virus infection itself, as well as by stressful conditions like those linked to the recent pandemic, the role of neuroinflammatory mechanisms could be central in a vicious circle leading to an increase in the mortality risk in aged COVID-19 patients. Furthermore, triggered neuroinflammatory pathways and consequent neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric conditions might be potential long-term complications of COVID-19. In order to provide insights to help clinicians in identifying patients who progress to a more severe case of the disease, this review underlines the potential implications of aging-related neuroinflammation in COVID-19 pandemic.