COVID-19 increases risk of brain fog, dementia: Study
A new study published in Lancet Psychiatric Journal has found a strong link between COVID-19 and several neurological and psychiatric conditions in the infected patients. People who had COVID-19 are at increased risk of developing conditions such as psychosis, dementia, brain fog, and seizures, for as long as two years as compared to those who had other respiratory infections, the study said.
- Previously, some studies found that COVID-19 had various secondary impacts on patients after infection.
- However, the new study is more significant because it will have far-reaching implications for patients and healthcare providers.
- According to the study, new cases of neurological conditions linked to COVID-19 infection are likely to occur for a long time after the pandemic has passed.
As per researchers from the University of Oxford, UK children were more likely to be diagnosed with some conditions, including seizures and psychotic disorders. The instances were higher in adults with the study pointing to the long-term mental health problems due to COVID-19 such as the increased risk of anxiety and depression in them. However, the conditions subsided within two months of the infection.
Researchers analyzed electronic health records from nearly 1.3 million people diagnosed with COVID-19 over two years, primarily in the United States, and compared them to a closely-matched group of 1.25 million people who had a different respiratory infection. The Delta variant was found to cause more disorders than the Alpha variant, while Omicron was linked to similar neurological and psychiatric risks as Delta.
"In addition to confirming previous findings that COVID-19 can increase the risk for some neurological and psychiatric conditions in the first six months after infection, this study suggests that some of these increased risks can last for at least two years," said Professor Paul Harrison, from the University of Oxford. The study also highlights the need for more research to find the solution.
In adults aged 65 years and over who had COVID-19 up to two years previously, there was a higher occurrence of brain fog, dementia, and psychotic disorder compared to those who once had a different respiratory infection. On the other hand, adults aged 18-64 years had a higher risk of cognitive deficit, brain fog, and muscle disease than those with other respiratory infections.