The Week (US)

Covid survivors left with ‘brain disease’

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Up to 34 percent of Covid-19 survivors are diagnosed with neurologic­al or psychiatri­c conditions within six months of their initial infection. In the largest study of its kind, researcher­s examined the health records of more than 236,000 Covid patients, mostly in the U.S. The most common brain-related issue was anxiety, which affected 17 percent, followed by mood disorders (14 percent). Other disorders were rarer but still statistica­lly significan­t: Of the coronaviru­s patients who were admitted to intensive care, 7 percent had a stroke within six months, while 2 percent were diagnosed with dementia. The researcher­s also compared the records of Covid patients with those of 105,600 people diagnosed with influenza over the same period. They found that Covid survivors had a 44 percent higher risk of developing neurologic­al and psychiatri­c illness than those recovering from a similarly severe case of flu. The study didn’t investigat­e the causes of these conditions. Some of the mental problems may be psychologi­cal, caused by the stress of being hospitaliz­ed or recovering from the disease. But the neurologic­al conditions could be caused by the direct effects of infection on the brain. “We know that the virus does enter the brain,” co-author Masud Husain, from Oxford University, tells the Financial Times. “It probably doesn’t have much effect on the neurons themselves, but more on the tissues that surround them.”

 ??  ?? Many recovering patients develop anxiety.
Many recovering patients develop anxiety.

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