A new study by researchers at Oxford University has examined the neurological and psychiatric outcomes in recovered COVID-19 patients 6 months post-infection. They have published their findings in The Lancet Psychiatry journal. Researchers used electronic health records to study the emergence of neurological and psychiatric disorders in patients who have recovered from COVID-19 disease.
Electronic data on patients six months following the clinical diagnosis of COVID-19 infection were obtained. Researchers have also explored the connection between the severity of COVID-19 infection and associated health risks. The disease’s severity was gauged in terms of admission to the intensive therapy unit (ITU) and development of encephalopathy. This study included 236,379 patients who were diagnosed with COVID-19.
The incidence of a neurological or psychiatric diagnosis, six months post-infection, was found to be 33.62% (95% CI 33.17–34.07), with 12.84% (12.36–13.33) being diagnosed for the first time. For patients admitted to ITU, 46.42% (44.78–48.09) of individuals were diagnosed with neurological or psychiatric disorders six months after the disease. Among these individuals, 25.79% (23.50–28.25) had no history of these diseases. Neurological and psychiatric disorders were also found in patients who did not require hospitalization. Researchers believe that this could be owing to the viral invasion of the central nervous system, hypercoagulable states, and neural effects of the immune response.
In the whole COVID-19 cohort, researchers reported that 2.66% of aged patients (older than 65 years) and 4.72% of patients with encephalopathy were diagnosed with dementia for the first time, within six months of having COVID-19. Researchers also reported that parkinsonism might be a delayed outcome, 0.11% (0.08–0.14). Some of the other incidences of disease were also evaluated, for example, intracranial hemorrhage 0.56% (0.50–0.63), ischaemic stroke 2.10% (1.97–2.23), anxiety disorder 17.39% (17.04–17.74), etc. In comparison to the existing reports, the current research showed a significantly increased risk of psychotic disorders. Such a difference in result may be owing to the larger sample size and a longer timeline of the study. Insomnia was found to be closely related to COVID-19; however, such association was absent in individuals who suffered from influenza or other respiratory tract infections.
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