Covid patients at higher risk of serious neurodegenerative disorders, find Danish researchers

Apart from ischemic stroke, most neurological disorders do not appear to be more frequent after COVID-19 than after influenza or community-acquired bacterial pneumonia, a researcher assured.

Published: 28th June 2022 04:33 PM  |   Last Updated: 28th June 2022 04:33 PM   |  A+A-

Covid, Coronavirus, Covid vaccine, Monoclonal antibody therapy

Image for representational purpose only. ( File Photo)

By PTI

LONDON: COVID-19 positive outpatients are at a far increased risk of neurodegenerative disorders compared with those who tested negative for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, according to a study.

The researchers found that those who had tested positive for COVID-19 were at a much higher risk of Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and ischaemic stroke.

The study, presented on Sunday at the 8th European Academy of Neurology (EAN) Congress in Vienna, Austria, analysed the health records of over half of the Danish population.

Out of 919,731 individuals that were tested for COVID-19 within the study, researchers found that the 43,375 people who tested positive had a 3.5 times increased risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

They also had 2.6 times increased risk of being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, 2.7 times with ischaemic stroke, and 4.8 times with intracerebral hemorrhage (bleeding in the brain).

While neuroinflammation may contribute to an accelerated development of neurodegenerative disorders, the researchers also highlighted the implications of the scientific focus on long COVID.

The study analysed in- and outpatients in Denmark between February 2020 and November 2021, as well as influenza patients from the corresponding pre-pandemic period.

ALSO READ | Coronavirus particles found in air can infect humans, experiments show

Researchers used statistical techniques to calculate relative risk, and results were stratified for hospitalisation status, age, sex, and comorbidities.

"More than two years after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the precise nature and evolution of the effects of COVID-19 on neurological disorders remained uncharacterised," Pardis Zarifkar, lead author from the Department of Neurology, Rigshospitalet, Denmark, explained.

"Previous studies have established an association with neurological syndromes, but until now it is unknown whether COVID-19 also influences the incidence of specific neurological diseases and whether it differs from other respiratory infections," Zarifkar said.

The increased risk of most neurological diseases was, however, no higher in COVID-19-positive patients than in people who had been diagnosed with influenza or other respiratory illnesses.

COVID-19 patients did have a 1.7 times increased risk of ischaemic stroke in comparison to influenza and bacterial pneumonia in patients over 80 years of age.

The frequency of other neurodegenerative illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, myasthenia gravis, and narcolepsy did not increase after COVID-19, influenza, or pneumonia.

"We found support for an increased risk of being diagnosed with neurodegenerative and cerebrovascular disorders in COVID-19 positive compared to COVID-negative patients, which must be confirmed or refuted by large registry studies in the near future," Zarifkar added.

"Reassuringly, apart from ischemic stroke, most neurological disorders do not appear to be more frequent after COVID-19 than after influenza or community-acquired bacterial pneumonia," he said.

The findings will help to inform our understanding of the long-term effect of COVID-19 on the body and the role that infections play in neurodegenerative diseases and stroke, the researchers added.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp