COVID raises risk of long-term brain injury, large US study finds

Nurses react while treating a COVID-19 patient in the ICU (intensive care unit) of Milton Keynes University Hospital, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom, Jan. 20. , 2021. — Reuters
  • The study examines mental health across 44 different disorders using medical records.
  • says that about 6.6 million Americans have a mental disorder linked to their COVID infection.
  • It appears that people infected with the virus were 50 percent more likely to have an ischemic stroke.

According to US researchers, people who had COVID-19 have a higher risk of brain injuries a year later than people who were never infected with the coronavirus, a finding that could affect millions of Americans. can

A year-long study published in Nature Medicine assessed mental health in 44 different disorders using de-identified medical records of millions of US veterans.

Brain and other neurological disorders were 7% more common in those who had been infected with COVID than in a similar group of veterans who had never been infected. That translates to about 6.6 million Americans whose brain disorders were linked to their COVID infection, the team said.

“The results show devastating long-term effects. COVID-19“senior author Dr. Ziad Al-Ali of Washington University School of Medicine said in a statement.

Al Ali and colleagues at the Washington University School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System studied the medical records of 154,000 US veterans who tested positive for COVID from March 1, 2020, to January 15, 2021.

They compared them with records of 5.6 million patients who did not have COVID during the same time frame, and another group of 5.8 million people from the period just before the arrival of the coronavirus in the United States.

Al-Ali said that earlier studies looked at a narrower group of disorders, and mostly focused on hospitalized patients, while his study included both hospitalized and non-hospitalized patients. were included.

Memory impairment, commonly referred to as brain fog, was the most common symptom. Compared with control groups, people affected COVID The risk of developing memory problems was 77 percent higher.

Those infected with the virus were 50 percent more likely to have an ischemic stroke, caused by a blood clot, than the never-infected group.

People who had COVID were 80% more likely to have seizures, 43% more likely to have mental health problems such as anxiety or depression, 35% more likely to have headaches and 42% more likely to have movement disorders, such as tremors. compared to control groups.

Governments and health systems should plan for one, the researchers said. A post-covid world.

“Given the scale of the epidemic, addressing these challenges calls for urgent and coordinated – but, so far, absent – global, national and regional response strategies,” Al-Ali said.

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