Among the 236,000 coronavirus survivors studied, researchers found anxiety was the most common diagnosis.
A third of COVID-19 survivors suffer from long-term brain or psychiatric disorders, scientists reported Tuesday.
Researchers studied more than 236,000 patients, mostly in the U.S., finding that 34% of survivors were diagnosed with a neurological or psychological condition within six months of infection. Researchers call it the largest study to date on the connection between coronavirus and brain health.
Researchers looked at 14 neurological and mental health disorders in total. According to the observational study, published Tuesday in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, anxiety was the most common diagnosis, affecting 17% of survivors.
The neurological effects were more severe among patients who had been hospitalized — but remained common even in less severe cases. Mood disorders were the second-most common diagnosis, at 14%, followed by substance misuse disorders at 7% and insomnia at 5%.
Neurological diagnoses, like stroke and dementia, were rarer, but not uncommon. Among patients admitted to intensive care with severe COVID-19, 7% had a stroke within six months, and nearly 2% were diagnosed with dementia.
For 13% of patients, it was their first recorded neurological or psychiatric diagnosis.
“These are real-world data from a large number of patients. They confirm the high rates of psychiatric diagnoses after COVID-19 and show that serious disorders affecting the nervous system (such as stroke and dementia) occur too,” lead author Paul Harrison said in a statement Wednesday. “While the latter are much rarer, they are significant, especially in those who had severe COVID-19.” [ … ]
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