1 in 3 Covid survivors suffer from neurological or mental disorders, according to a study

Teamsters Local 848 Commercial Agent Reyes Magana is tested for COVID-19 at a testing site provided by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters on July 16, 2020 in Long Beach, California.

Mario Tama | fake images

One in three Covid-19 survivors has suffered a neurological or psychiatric disorder within six months of being infected with the virus, an observational study of more than 230,000 patient medical records estimated.

The study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry on Tuesday, analyzed data from the electronic health records of 236,379 Covid-19 patients from the US-based TriNetX network, which includes more than 81 million people.

This group was compared with 105,579 patients diagnosed with influenza and 236,038 patients diagnosed with some respiratory tract infection (including influenza).

Overall, the estimated incidence of being diagnosed with a neurological or mental health disorder after Covid-19 infection was 34%, the study led by researchers from the University of Oxford found when analyzing 14 neurological and health disorders. mental.

For 13% of these people, it was their first recorded neurological or psychiatric diagnosis.

The most common diagnoses after having the coronavirus were anxiety disorders (occurring in 17% of patients), mood disorders (14%), substance abuse disorders (7%), and insomnia (5%). The incidence of neurological outcomes was lower, including 0.6% for brain hemorrhage, 2.1% for ischemic stroke, and 0.7% for dementia.

After taking into account underlying health characteristics, such as age, gender, ethnicity, and existing health conditions, overall there was a 44% higher risk of neurological and mental health diagnoses after Covid-19 than after. flu, and a 16% higher risk after Covid -19 than with respiratory tract infections.

Since the coronavirus appeared in China in late 2019, more than 132 million cases of the virus and more than 2.8 million deaths have been reported, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Professor Paul Harrison, lead author of the study from the Oxford University Department of Psychiatry, said the latest study highlights the need for health care systems to be equipped to deal with a potentially greater number of neurological disorders in survivors of the disease. virus.

“This is real-world data from a large number of patients. They confirm the high rates of psychiatric diagnoses after Covid-19 and show that serious disorders that affect the nervous system (such as stroke and dementia) also occur. Much rarer, they are significant, especially in those who had severe Covid-19, “he noted.

“Although the individual risks of most disorders are small, the effect on the entire population can be substantial for health and social care systems due to the scale of the pandemic as many of these conditions are chronic. As a result, health care systems need to have the resources to meet anticipated needs, both within primary and secondary care services. “

Dr Max Taquet, a co-author of the Oxford University study, said more research was needed to see “what happens after six months.”

“The study cannot reveal the mechanisms involved, but it does point to the need for urgent research to identify them, with a view to preventing or treating them.”

Since the pandemic emerged and spread across the world in the spring of 2020, various investigations have been conducted on the short-term and long-term effects of the virus. Oxford University’s department of psychiatry noted that there has been growing concern that survivors may be at increased risk for neurological disorders.

“A previous observational study by the same research group reported that Covid-19 survivors are at increased risk for mood and anxiety disorders in the first three months after infection. However, so far, it has not there have been large-scale data examining the risks of neurological and psychiatric diagnoses in the six months after Covid-19 infection, “the department said.


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