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Studies show that one in three Covid-19 survivors have brain disease.

They found that 34% of COVID-19 survivors were diagnosed with neurological or psychological symptoms within six months of infection, according to a study published Tuesday in the Lancet Psychiatry journal.

The most common diagnosis was anxiety, which was found in 17% of people treated with Covid-19, followed by mood disorders, found in 14% of patients.

And although the neurological effects are more severe in hospitalized patients, But it is still common only in outpatient patients.

“The rate continues to increase as the severity of COVID-19 increases. If we look at hospitalized patients, that rate increases to 39%,”

; said Maxime Taquet, a psychiatrist at the University of California. The University of Oxford said and Co-author of the new study

The findings shed light on how the healthcare system should continue to help COVID-19 survivors.

“Our results indicate that brain and psychiatric disorders are more common after COVID-19 than the common cold or other respiratory infections, although patients have other risk factors. Look at what happens after six months, ”Taquet added.

Covid-19 is a ‘brain disease’.

It is the largest of its kind and involves electronic health records of more than 236,000 Covid-19 patients, most of them in the United States. The researchers compared their records with people who experienced other respiratory infections during the same period.

They noted that people with COVID-19 had a 44% increased risk of neurological and psychiatric illness compared with people recovering from the flu. And they are 16% more likely to be affected than those with other respiratory infections.

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However, Covid-19 does not necessarily increase the risk of all neurological illnesses.

“Two major negative findings are related to Parkinson’s and disease. Guillain-Barré “Both of these are neurological conditions that we know may sometimes be related to viral infections. We don’t find them more common after COVID-19 and after other respiratory infections.” That we examined “

The study is important, in part, because the larger number of patient records allows researchers to analyze. Musa Sami is Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the University of Nottingham.

“This is a strong contribution to a larger population that shows the correlation between COVID-19 and psychiatric and neurological complications,” he said in a statement. “This is a very important topic because there is a great concern about COVID-19 as a ‘brain disease’. ”

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Sami, who was not involved in the study, stressed the need to further investigate how Covid-19 affects the brain and nervous system. “The psychological stress, longer hospital stay and the nature of the illness may also play a part,” he said.

One clue: Mental symptoms are more common than severe neurological complications, according to Masud Husain, professor of neuroscience and cognitive science at the University of Oxford and co-author of the study.

“It’s people with very serious illnesses who are at a higher risk of neurological complications, unlike what we see from more serious mental health complications across the board,” he said.

Other smaller studies point to results. One study in February followed 381 patients treated with COVID-19 at a hospital in Rome, Italy, and found that 30% of them experienced post-recovery stress symptoms.
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A December study in the journal Neurology: Clinical Practice showed that Covid-19 can cause seizures and movement disorders, even in some moderate cases.

The long-term burden of COVID-19 on health systems

One limitation of the Lancet psychiatry study is its use of “routine healthcare data” rather than research data, according to Paul Harrison, professor of psychiatry at the University of Oxford and lead author of the study.

That could mean the diagnoses are gone, they have not been fully investigated or are inaccurate.

And just getting diagnosed can make a difference.

“Covid-1919 patients may be more likely to receive a neurological and psychiatric diagnosis simply because they are given more follow-up, more medical attention compared to patients with a respiratory infection that may be more likely to be diagnosed. Indicates some of the differences that we ‘Got noticed at this rate,’ Taquet told a news briefing.

Still, the study provides a far-reaching view of the long-term burden that a pandemic will have on those with it.

“Although the personal risk for most anomalies is negligible. But the impact of the entire population may be important to the healthcare system and society because the levels of these outbreaks and conditions are largely chronic, ”Harrison said. “For this reason, health care systems need to be resourced to address the anticipated needs in both primary and secondary care.”

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