Marwan Sabbagh, MD, FAAN
Camille and Larry Ruvo Chair for Brain Health
Director, Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health
Ask the Expert
Understanding brain health, age-related memory loss and dementia can be overwhelming and confusing. Plus, science is always evolving. In this new series, Dr. Marwan Sabbagh, answers our most frequently asked questions.
Questions and Answers
Q: What is the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s?
A: Dementia is a category of disease. Dementia means someone is experiencing a decline in thinking (or cognition) that interferes with performing normal activities of daily living. Dementia may or may not be reversible depending on the underlying cause. There are many types of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) dementia is the most common.
Related Article: Is it Alzheimer’s or is it Dementia?
Q: Can COVID-19 affect the brain and produce neurologic symptoms?
A: Although scientists still have much to learn about this virus, it is not uncommon, especially in the elderly, for an infection to cause confusion. Dizziness can also be a symptom due to the dehydration or water loss caused by a fever. The loss of the sense of smell, as is seen in some patients with COVID-19, may mean the infection is causing inflammation of the nerve endings inside the nose.
For a patient with dementia who may have COVID-19, you may see a worsening of cognitive and behavioral symptoms like confusion, irritability and dizziness, days before seeing the more expected signs of the virus infection like cough and fever.
Related Video: The Intersections of Medical Illnesses and Brain Diseases
Who is Dr. Marwan Sabbagh?
Dr. Marwan Sabbagh, a board certified geriatric neurologist, has dedicated his career to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s. Dr. Sabbagh is a leading investigator for many prominent national Alzheimer’s prevention and treatment trials and has published more than 300 peer-reviewed articles.