The researchers found that 34% of “Covid-19” survivors received a diagnosis of a neurological or psychological condition within 6 months of their injury, according to the study published Tuesday in the journal “Lancet Psychiatry”.
The most common diagnosis was feeling anxious, as it affected 17% of those who received treatment due to “Covid-19”, and mood disorders followed, as 14% of patients suffered from this condition.
Although the neurological effects are more severe in hospitalized patients, they are still common in those who have not stayed in hospital, according to the researchers.
The researchers said that the results contribute to illuminating the way for how health care systems can continue to help survivors of “Covid-19”.
Looking at the Corona virus as a “brain disease”
This is the largest study of its kind so far, and electronic health records included more than 236,000 patients with Coronavirus, most of them in the United States.
The researchers compared their records with those who suffered from other respiratory infections during the same time frame, and noted that those suffering from “Covid-19″ had a 44% increased risk of developing neurological and psychological diseases compared to people who recovered from influenza, and they were also more People with other respiratory infections are 16% more likely to experience these effects.
However, the Covid-19 virus does not necessarily increase the risk of developing the full range of neurological diseases.
Two negative outcomes were associated with Parkinson’s disease and Guillain-Barre syndrome.
Maxime Tackett, clinical academic fellow in psychiatry at the University of Oxford, and co-author of the new study, said: “The two cases are neurological diseases that we know are sometimes associated with viral infections. We looked at it. ”
In part, the study was important because of the huge number of patient records that researchers were able to analyze, according to Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Nottingham, Dr. Musa Sami.
In a statement, Sami, who was not involved in the study, stressed the need for more research on how “Covid-19” affects the brain, and the nervous system exactly, and said: “Psychological stress and longer hospital stays may play a role.”
The burden of “Covid-19” on the health system
One of the limitations of the study is its use of “routine health care data”, instead of research data, according to a professor of psychiatry at the University of Oxford, and lead author of the study, Paul Harrison.
This could mean that diagnoses are missing, not fully verified, or incorrect.
“Patients who have had Covid-19 may be more likely to get a neurological and psychological diagnosis, and this is simply because they receive more follow-up and medical attention compared to patients who have suffered from respiratory infections,” Tackett said in a press briefing. We noticed it in the averages. ”