‘Covid increases risk of brain fog, dementia’

The new study conducted by Lancet notes an increased risk of anxiety and depression in adult patients

Published: 19th August 2022 09:48 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th August 2022 09:48 AM   |  A+A-

Health workers shift a patient on a stretcher at a COVID-19 hospital in Ahmedabad (File | AP)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: People who had Covid-19 are at an increased risk of developing some neurological and psychiatric conditions, including psychosis, dementia, brain fog and seizures, for as long as two years as compared to those who had other respiratory infections, said a study published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal.

The researchers from the University of Oxford, UK, said that children were more likely to be diagnosed with some conditions, including seizures and psychotic disorders. But the likelihood of most diagnoses after Covid-19 was lower than in adults. The study, which shed more light on the long-term mental health problems due to Covid-19, also noted an increased risk of anxiety and depression in adults, but it subsided within two months of Covid-19 infection. 

The researchers, who analysed electronic health records from nearly 1.3 million people diagnosed with Covid-19 over two years, mainly in the US, and then compared them with a closely-matched group of 1.25 million people who had a different respiratory infection, said that the Delta variant was associated with more disorders than the Alpha variant while Omicron was linked with similar neurological and psychiatric risks as Delta.

“In addition to confirming previous findings that COVID-19 can increase the risk for some neurological and psychiatric conditions in the first six months after infection, this study suggests that some of these increased risks can last for at least two years,” said Professor Paul Harrison, from the University of Oxford.

“The results have important implications for patients and health services as it suggests new cases of neurological conditions linked to COVID-19 infection are likely to occur for a considerable time after the pandemic has subsided,” Harrison, lead author of the study, said.

In adults aged 65 years and over who had Covid-19 up to two years previously, there was a higher occurrence of brain fog, dementia and psychotic disorder compared to those who once had a different respiratory infection. Adults aged 18-64 years who had Covid-19 up to two years previously had a higher risk of cognitive deficit, brain fog, and muscle disease than those with other respiratory infections up to two years.

The study also highlights the need for more research to understand why this happens after Covid-19 and what can be done to prevent or treat these conditions.  Of those with health records in the US-based TriNetX network, 1,284,437 people had a confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection on or after January 20, 2020, and were included in the study: 185,748 children, 856,588 adults between 18 and 64 years old, and 242,101 adults over 65. These individuals were matched to an equal number of patients with another respiratory infection to act as a control group. Little change was observed in the risks of neurological and psychiatric diagnoses six months post Covid-19 just before and just after the emergence of the Alpha variant.

However, the emergence of the Delta variant was associated with significantly higher six-month risks of anxiety, cognitive deficit, epilepsy or seizures, and ischaemic strokes but a lower risk of dementia when compared to those diagnosed with Covid-19 just before the Delta wave. The risks during the Omicron wave, which saw a lower death rate, were, however, similar to those when Delta was the dominant variant. “The fact that neurological and psychiatric outcomes were similar during the delta and omicron waves indicates that the burden on the health-care system might continue even with variants that are less severe in other respects,” the study said.

Post-pandemic perils for patients

The havoc of corona pandemic is not limited to getting infections, its after effects last longer. The new Lancet study throws light on such hazards

  • Covid patients are an increased risk of developing some neurological and psychiatric conditions, including psychosis, dementia, brain fog and seizures, for as long as two years
  • Children were more likely to be diagnosed with some onditions, including seizures and psychotic disorders
  • There was also found an increased risk of anxiety and depression in adults, but it subsides within two months of Covid-19 infection
  • The Delta variant was associated with more disorders than the Alpha variant while Omicron was linked with similar neurological and psychiatric risks as Delta


Comments(1)

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.

  • Itoldyouso

    lol
    1 month ago reply
flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp