One-third of coronavirus patients were found to suffer from psychiatric or brain problems within six months of their COVID-19 diagnosis, according to a study published Tuesday.
Researchers analyzed health records for 236,379 COVID patients, mostly from the United States, and found that 34 percent had been diagnosed with neurological or psychiatric disorders six months later.
About one in eight of the patients or 12.8 percent were diagnosed for the first time with such a disease, the study showed.
Anxiety at 17 percent and depression or mood disorders at 14 percent were the most common diagnoses according to the research.
Cases of cases after strokes, dementia and other neurological disorders were rarer but still significant ̵
Among those admitted to intensive care with coronavirus, 7 percent had a stroke within six months. Nearly 2 percent were diagnosed with dementia, the study found.
The disorders were significantly more common in COVID patients than in control groups of people recovering from influenza or other respiratory infections during the same time period.
“Our results indicate that brain diseases and psychiatric disorders are more common after COVID-19 than after influenza or other respiratory infections,” said Max Taquet, a psychiatrist at Oxford University in the UK who co-led the work.
The study, published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, was unable to determine how the virus is linked to psychiatric conditions, Taquet said, adding that rapid research is needed to identify the mechanisms involved.
The researchers also suggested that the pandemic could cause a wave of mental and neurological problems.
“Although the individual risks of most disorders are small, the impact across the entire population can be significant,” said Paul Harrison, a professor of psychiatry at Oxford who led the work.
With mail cables