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7 Apr, 2021 13:10

1 in 3 Covid-19 survivors develop neurological or psychiatric problems within 6 months – study

1 in 3 Covid-19 survivors develop neurological or psychiatric problems within 6 months – study

A horrifying new study has found that one in three survivors of Covid-19 have been diagnosed with a neurological or psychiatric condition in the six months since beating the disease.

The worrying research adds to a growing body of evidence which indicates that the specter of the coronavirus pandemic will likely loom large over humanity’s mental health for many years to come.  

The study’s findings were published on Wednesday in the Lancet Psychiatry journal and reveal that Covid patients were significantly more likely to develop brain conditions than survivors of other respiratory tract infections.

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It constitutes the largest study so far on survivors of Covid-19, and examined the health records of more than 230,000 recovered patients, finding that a whopping 34% were diagnosed with either a neurological or psychiatric condition within six months of recovery.

Some 17% of patients were diagnosed with anxiety, while 14% were diagnosed with mood disorders. For 13% of the patients, it was the first mental health condition with which they had ever been diagnosed. 

Meanwhile, the neurological disorders included brain hemorrhages (in 0.6% of patients), stroke (2.1%), and dementia (0.7%), though these conditions were diagnosed at a lower rate than the psychiatric diagnoses.

The risk of brain disorders correlated with the severity of the Covid-19 infection.

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The researchers also compared their findings against similar health records of patients who had recovered from influenza or respiratory tract infections.

Covid survivors had a 44% higher risk of neurological and mental health diagnoses than recovered flu patients, and 16% higher than recovered respiratory tract infection patients. 

Paul Harrison from the University of Oxford, the study’s lead author, warned that “Many of these conditions are chronic,” and said he fears the long-lasting implications for humanity’s health.

“As a result, health care systems need to be resourced to deal with the anticipated need, both within primary and secondary care services.”

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