Research had revealed that as many as a third of the Covid-19 survivors showed neurological symptoms or long-term mental health issues, CNN reported.
Study Points To Mental Health issues, neurological Symptoms In Covid-19 Survivors
Researchers said they found 34% survivors of the disease were diagnosed for a psychological or neurological condition within six months of the date of infection, as per the study published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry on Tuesday.
Anxiety was the most common diagnosis, among 17% of the survivors, while mood disorders seen in 14% of patients was the next in the line.
According to the researchers, while hospitalized patients suffered more severe neurological effects, they were also common in persons who had undergone treatment in an outpatient setting.
According to Maxime Taquet, an academic clinical fellow in psychiatry at Oxford University and the new study co-author, a progressive increase in the rate was seen with the severity of the Covid-19 illness. She added among hospitalized patients that rate increased to 39%.
According to the researchers, the results helped light the way forward as to how the healthcare system could continue to extend help to Covid-19 survivors.
Taquet added that the results indicated that psychiatric disorders and brain diseases were more common after Covid-19 than after respiratory infections for flu even when other risk factors in patients were matched. She added it now remained to be seen what happened after six months.
The study which involved the electronic health records of over 236,000 Covid-19 patients mostly in the US, was the largest study of its kind to date. The records of patients who had suffered other respiratory tract infections during the same time frame were compared with Covid-19 survivors.
They found that those with Covid-19 had a 44% elevated risk for neurological and psychiatric illness as against people recovering from flu. Furthermore, they ran a 16% higher risk of experiencing those effects as against patients of other respiratory tract infections.
The incidence of an ischemic stroke, a blood clot affecting the brain, was about one in 50 for Covid-19 survivors.
Taquet added, two important negative findings concerned Guillan-Barre syndrome and parkinsonism. She said both of those conditions were neurological conditions that medical professionals knew had at times association with viral infection. She added the researchers had not found they were more common after Covid-19 as also other respiratory tract infections that were considered in the study.
According to Dr Musa Sami, a clinical associate professor in psychiatry at the University of Nottingham, the study was important partly due to the sheer number of patients records the researchers had been able to analyze.
He added it was a thorough study in a large cohort that demonstrated the association between neurological and psychiatric complications and Covid-19. He added it concerned a very important topic in the backdrop of the considerable consternation around Covid-19 as a brain disease.
Sami who had no involvement in the study, pointed to the need for investigating further into how, exactly, Covid-19 affected the nervous system and the brain. He added, psychological stress, longer stay in hospital, and illness’ characteristics themselves might play a part.
According to Masud Husain, a professor of cognitive science and neurology at the University of Oxford ana study co-author, psychological symptoms were more common than severe neurological complications.
He added that it was really the people who had suffered severe illness that were at elevated risk of developing the neurological complications, unlike what was seen with the mental health complications, which was much more across the board with severity.
The result had been pointed to in other smaller studies and one study in February tracked 381 patients treated for Covid-19. The study at a hospital in Rome, Italy and revealed that 30% of the survivors had experienced post-traumatic stress disorder following recovery.