A large US study has found that Covid increases the risk of long-term brain injuries

Nurses interact while treating a COVID-19 patient in the intensive care unit at Milton Keynes University Hospital in Britain amid the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, January 20, 2021. People who have contracted COVID-19 are at greater risk for a range of brain injuries a year later than people who have not been infected. Never the Corona virus. (Toby Melville, Reuters)

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People who have contracted the COVID-19 virus are at a higher risk of developing a range of brain injuries after a year than people who have never been infected with the coronavirus, US researchers said Thursday, a finding that could affect millions of Americans.

The year-long study, published in Nature Medicine, evaluated brain health across 44 different disorders using medical records without patient IDs from millions of US veterans.

Brain and other neurological disorders occurred in 7% more people who developed COVID than a similar group of veterans who had never been infected. That translates to nearly 6.6 million Americans with brain disabilities linked to COVID infection, the team said.

The results demonstrate the devastating long-term effects of COVID-19, senior researcher Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly of the University of Washington School of Medicine said in a statement.

Al-Ali and colleagues at Washington University School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs in St. Louis studied the medical records of 154,000 US veterans who tested positive for COVID from March 1, 2020 to January 15, 2021.

They compared these records with 5.6 million patients who did not have COVID during the same time frame, and another group of 5.8 million people from the period before the coronavirus arrived in the United States.

Al-Ali said previous studies looked at a narrower set of disorders, and focused largely on hospitalized patients, while his study included both in-hospital and non-resident patients.

Memory disturbances, commonly referred to as brain fog, were the most common symptom. Compared to control groups, people with COVID were 77% more likely to have memory problems.

People infected with the virus were 50% more likely to have a stroke, which is caused by blood clots, compared to the uninfected group.

Those who had COVID were 80% more likely to have seizures, 43% more likely to have mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression, 35% more likely to have headaches and 42% more likely to have movement disorders, such as tremors, compared to control groups. .

The researchers said governments and health systems must make plans for the post-COVID world.

“Given the sheer scale of the pandemic, addressing these challenges requires urgent and coordinated – yet absent – global, national and regional response strategies,” Al-Ali said.

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