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COVID-19 Sufferers More Vulnerable To Psychological Disorders Than Respiratory Infections

Researchers at the University of Oxford inferred that Covid was associated with more subsequent brain conditions than other respiratory illnesses

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Divya Dhadd
Divya Dhadd

UNITED KINGDOM: In a recent study on the post effects of COVID-19, researchers have found that people detected with COVID-19 in the previous six months were more likely to develop depression, dementia, stroke and, psychosis.

Read also: Parosmia, A Lingering Symptom Of COVID-19 That Causes Phantom Odors

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A third of those previously infected with COVID-19 showed signs of development or a relapse of a psychological or neurological condition.

UK scientists looked at the electronic medical records of around half a million patients in the US, and their chances of developing common neurological or psychological conditions including, stroke, dementia, brain hemorrhage, Parkinson’s, Guillian-Barre syndrome, mood, and anxiety disorders. Of these, anxiety and mood disorders are the most common diagnosis among those with COVID-19. Whereas, conditions like dementia and stroke were more likely to be down to the biological impacts of the virus itself. However, the virus was not associated with an increased risk of Parkinson’s or Guillain-Barre syndrome.

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Cause and Effect

Researchers couldn’t say whether COVID-19 had caused any of the diagnoses, as the study was observational. But by comparing a group of people who had had COVID-19 with two groups – flu and other respiratory infections respectively, the researchers at the University of Oxford inferred that those who previously suffered from COVID-19 were more susceptible to subsequent brain conditions than other respiratory illnesses. To make the participants as comparable as possible, they were matched by age, sex, ethnicity, and health conditions. To make it worse, the more severely ill with COVID-19 the patient has been, the more are the chances of a subsequent brain disorder diagnosis.

Professor Masud Husain at the University of Oxford explained that there is evidence that the virus does enter the brain and cause direct damage. It can have other indirect effects, for example by affecting blood clotting which can deteriorate health conditions leading to stroke.

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Prof Dame Til Wykes, from King’s College London, said: “Looking over six months after diagnosis has demonstrated that the “after-effects” can appear much later than expected – something that is no surprise to those suffering from Long COVID-19. Although as expected, the outcomes are more serious in those admitted to hospital, the study does point out that serious effects are also evident in those who had not been admitted to hospital.”


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